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My team and I are working with several clients conducting company and leadership assessments to pinpoint areas for improvement. The assessments are fascinating. The conversations are insightful. The leadership team members are smart, and their desire to improve is impressive. There’s a passion, a dedication, and a yearning to move their organizations forward.
I’ve had three conversations within the past week with managers from three separate organizations. Each one has asked for guidance or simply an ear so they could vent. Each manager is frustrated by a ‘leader’ who can’t lead. Each is frustrated by a leader who believes she or he is actually a really good leader because of their academic training, their professional work history, or, the one that I find really amusing, because the leader has written articles on leadership!
A client, the Director of North American Operations, asked me to review a proposed Corporate Leadership Development Program that had just come across his desk. Something about it felt ‘off’ to him, but he couldn’t quite identify what was making him uncomfortable. After a quick look, I could see the problem. The plan had many of the correct elements to a sound leadership development program. However, the order in the focus areas was wrong. The plan was proposing the training topics discuss Customers, People (i.e., team members), Products, and then Culture.
A new client reached out to my company requesting we provide their management team with training on how to conduct performance evaluations. The new CEO had been directed by the board to restart performance evaluations. The board believed by doing so the employees would know what was expected of them so they could then help increase sales and profits. The company hadn’t used performance evaluations in over ten years. The former CEO had willy-nilly promoted some, while not promoting others. Few in leadership had real management or leadership skills. Poor performers were allowed to stay. Poor behavior wasn’t addressed. Things had been on autopilot for over ten years and their revenues were showing it.
When was the last time you sat back and asked if what you are focusing on providing was actually hurting your business? What might you, your team, or your products be doing that is, in reality, wasting resources or killing sales? If you are focusing on what’s important to you instead of what your targeted customers want and need, you may be working really hard…and hurting your business in the process.