In today’s demanding business environment (cost pressures, flatter organizations, more direct reports, “speed to market” as a competitive advantage, etc.) you have limited opportunity to devote time and energy to your own development. Most leaders struggle to meet all of the responsibilities of their positions and are too busy and too stressed to step back and learn from their experiences – or to implement changes that establish best practices. The one thing that is in no one’s best interest is for you, as a leader, to forsake your own learning and development – no matter what level you may be. In the current environment, Executive Coaching is one sure-fire way you can continue to develop your executive-level skills, as well as address your developmental and growth needs (which impacts the entire organization), while continuing to run your organization on a day to day basis. Continue Reading…
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Innovation. Integration. Motivation.
Three simple words… however, implementation is extremely complex and rarely executed.
In today’s challenging environment, leadership has never been more complex. As leaders, we are the Commanders of our troops and have a responsibility to ensure we are consistently pushing forward to ensure victory. While the obvious route is to cut costs, limit availability of resources, manage cash efficiently and hold down the fort until reinforcements arrive – this is merely defensive maneuvering. It is absolutely essential that we, as leaders, recognize that we cannot win the war of sustainable competitive advantage without going on the offensive to courageously engage people as a competitive weapon to ensure we are victorious. Continue Reading…
We hear about vision, mission statements and values often enough, but why are they so important? Similar to Alice unsuccessfully trying to open the door to Wonderland, you must have the right keys to shape your company’s culture and reflect what you stand for. They are the essence of your identity as an organization – your principles, beliefs, philosophies… and how you do business. Woven into the fabric of its culture, every work environment should strive to encourage positive values and discourage negative influences that affect behavior and outcomes. We all possess a moral compass, defined via our values, which directs how we treat others and conduct ourselves. As an organization, this can be a powerful tool to shape culture. Ultimately, it does not come back to the company, but its people…
Arguably self-awareness and integrity are an important subset of values, but self-awareness and the pursuit of the truth are so important that they should be on every company’s list of values. If integrity is best described by C.S. Lewis as “doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching,” having the ability to be completely honest about your own strengths, weaknesses, and biases is critical. In developing an authentic, sustainable culture this applies not only to the leadership team, but to every single employee. Self-awareness and integrity are easy to lose… and hard to win back. When cultures are failing there are root causes that must be identified, but that can rarely be fixed quickly – and certainly not by policy and procedural changes. During challenging times, leaders tend want to drink from the blue bottle and — ta da! – see that the company culture is fixed. Unfortunately, building, evolving and transforming cultures takes both time and hard work.
Here are 6 core “keys” that will help you to build toward an amazing organizational culture:
Creating a great company culture can feel like chasing the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole… everywhere you turn are examples of what happens when a company culture goes south. This is most often because companies often get caught up in the day-to-day challenges of running the business and forget the importance of creating a remarkable company culture.
Establishing a culture you believe in means having a clear and consistent vision and knowing how you’d like everyone, inside and outside the company, to view the organization. Many old-school executives often view the order of operations as Profit, Policy, Process… and then People. This is completely backwards – it’s people that make a business successful and people that create a culture. The greater the inclusion of people, the more significant the contributions made… which flows over to customer satisfaction – and increased revenue.
Similar to the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “if you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which way you go” – so it goes with culture. When you don’t have a clear vision, strategy and plan for execution it doesn’t matter who you hire or what you do – you will wander aimlessly, never arriving at your desired destination. If you have a vision without a strategy, or a strategy without a plan for execution, your corporate culture will fall right down that rabbit hole into Neverland… oops, I mean Wonderland!
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As we look forward, it is helpful to also look back and gain perspective. Today’s supply chain is even more global than two years ago… It is more aligned and proactive than it was five years ago. We are making progress, but there are still critical challenges to address. It is still not working well… experience tells me we can do better.
Typically, even though organizations may be consolidating for cost management and scalability purposes, the walls of the individual functions, channels and regions have become even thicker. As a direct result, it is harder for you, as a leader, to build end-to-end supply chain functionality in an ever-changing global marketplace. It has become increasingly difficult for you to gain agreement on specific, customer focused initiatives or broader organizational change.
This is not a technology, process or policy problem – it is a people problem:
Today, quality in products and services is a given. Customers are increasingly aware of their choices, and as a result quality has become assumed if an organization seeks to survive. Quality performance has peaked globally, resulting in the face of quality shifting from the front-line employee to the corporate leader.
As quality continues to evolve, the question becomes, “how do we shift the ‘definition’ of quality to reflect quality leadership?” If we refer to Deming’s quality methods, there are some clear indicators as to how we can connect quality principles to leadership principles. Deming’s Quality System is based on what he called “Profound Knowledge” – calling out four interrelated and inseparable aspects of quality that act as a critical foundation: Continue Reading…