leadership

Leadership for Executives

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Leadership obviously has multiple components, but our years of RoundTable experience suggests there is one cornerstone component that stands alone.

Yes, toxic leader profiles and/or ridiculous business plans can neutralize any business opportunity, but the one missing component we observe with increasing frequency today is the lack of clear accountability. At CRO Executive RoundTable, we define a leader as someone people will follow.  When we meet with member company employees to apply this definition, two discussion topics typically evolve:  accountability and the 3 T’s profile.  These two are directly connected to overall success.

Accountability

Many executives have been trained, coached etc. to believe consensus is leadership.  The goal is to get ‘buy in’ by all participants but the real world outcome is better described as management by lack of ownership.   Margaret Thatcher said it best:

“Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?”

Accountability does put focus and varying levels of stress into the organization but success is not achieved by complacency or consensus.   If complacency is in control, the culture will deny, deflect and/or destroy all efforts for change.  Everyone is operating in their comfort zone while the business is consuming resources just circling the wagons…which may end up being the precursor to circling the drain.

3 T’s Profile

The profile that makes Accountability a leadership skill are combinations of Trust, Transparency and Timeliness.  These are almost boundless research topics but the employee engagement discussions are less complicated.

Trust - is earned; employees want to know senior leadership is more than committed than they are to delivering the results.  Execs wanting to be “consensus scorekeepers” are often viewed as just being along for the ride and producing zero contribution.

Transparency – employees know some topics are not fully disclosable but they want to know – or be able to ask – about all other matters that impact growth and success.  Executives that face questions and issues head on are aligned with where employees want to be.

Timeliness – we live in a 24/7 world today.  Employees don’t want to learn more about their company from the web than from leadership.  Employees are the top-tier stakeholders in any business so putting other individuals or groups first is a breach with direct performance engagement consequences.

Conclusion These are not hard tasks to understand or deliver except when effective leadership is not the top priority.  That may appear to be an oxymoron but it is clear to employees.

Avoiding The Self-Inflicted Failure Trap

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After decades of working with highly successful companies, I have observed one failure trap that is still alive and well in today’s business climate.

It is avoidable but the more success a company achieves, the more likely it is to experience a “pivot” (great word for surviving a FUBAR catastrophe!) in order to continue. 

Companies typically become successful by doing something new that the market wants, accepts, and is willing to embrace.  Some examples could be electric cars, artificial intelligence for repetitive type functions, real time 24x7 communication etc.

Success ultimately stimulates internal growth and at some point, the organization has very precise roles with crafted job descriptions, KPI’s, compensation ranges etc.  The creativity that launched the company evolves into “structure” with clearly defined roles and expectations.  People are measured and rewarded by how well they execute their assigned micro tasks.

The result is creativity doesn’t flourish in structure.  Real creativity is unscheduled, amorphous, unpredictable and essential for addressing today’s business disruption.  Leadership teams own the disruption challenge - How much of your day is spent nurturing the creativity core needed in your business to succeed?

10 Rules for Losing in Business

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1. Quit Taking Risks!

2. Be Content!

3. Always ask yourself “What would the founder have done?”

4. Rely totally on research and experts to make decisions for you.

5. If you want to lose, be inflexible.

6. Concentrate on your competitor instead of your customer.

7. Put yourself first.

8. Administrative concerns take precedence over all others.

9. Look to someone else to do your thinking for you.

10. Memorize the motto, “That’s good enough.”

 

-Donald R. Keough, President, Coca-Cola, Inc.

CRO Rule #1 - Why Sales Training Doesn't Work

CRO Rule #1
If all four tires on  a car are flat, putting some air in one tire does not remedy the situation.  That is why companies know sales training alone doesn’t work, and it won’t until they implement the three remaining core processes of a closed-loop Revenue System.

I grant you it is a simple analogy, but you see the wisdom in it.  Revenue development has many components of which sales training is a singular piece to a larger puzzle.  Here is a graphic representation of a CRO’s role:

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These are the activities that lead to a closed-loop, Revenue-as-a-System engine that drives department-wide success.  The 5M’s Sales Process is a key component, but it is only 1 “tire” on the car.

Execution Isn't The Problem

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Our RoundTable program is totally results-focused meaning our executive membership knows the leadership road to results is always a combination of 3 components – Leadership, Strategy and Execution.

Many times we observe non-member leadership putting all their performance shortfalls on execution. More successful executives have learned that where the problem appears is not always where the problem exists. Our members say it best – culture eats strategy for lunch every day. When culture and strategy are not aligned (a core leadership responsibility) execution becomes an intermittent compromise at best…and terminally toxic at worst.

Leadership and Strategy exist inside the business – execution takes those “assets” outside to your market. That’s how it works so be careful not to define results as solely an execution issue.

5 Brutal Leadership Comments

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Whatever you do, avoid these statements.

After decades of working with companies to improve their revenue performance, we have heard a litany of comments from leadership teams that will cause any engaged employee (or outside resource) to urgently start the quest for another opportunity.

The 5 most atrocious are:

1. The only job the sales department has is to keep manufacturing running at 90+% capacity.
2. Customers would be “stupid” not to buy this.
3. Forecasting should only happen after sales writes the order.
4. Sales needs to find smarter customers.
5. If we have to downsize, sales will be the first to go.

If you encounter one of these…Good Luck!
Regarding your next opportunity – contact us and we will connect you with one of our CRO RoundTable member companies.

Revenue-savvy leadership is never a commodity.