Here we are. January, 2017. As business leaders, this is the time of optimism and hope. Little has gone wrong yet. We can believe that this year will be a great one, delivering exceptional results. Except for one minor detail: Harvard Business Review tell us that most companies will only achieve 60% of their strategic intent by the end of the year. Do we cross our fingers and hope we reside within the minority of businesses that achieve their goals or do we intentionally increase the odds of success?
I advise my clients to get intentional. Commit to addressing execution weakness now. This means fixing the things that have been nagging at us for a while. Whether it be a person, process or key function – deal with it. Business leaders instinctively know where weakness resides within the organization. Yet, we often tolerate these inhibitors to growth. We refer to these gremlins as sacred cows or the status quo. Whatever the term, it points to the organizational weak spots that we condone by inaction.
Admittedly, I’m not one for New Year resolutions because I try to adopt a new habit or shed a bad one the minute I think about it. Waiting until January 1st to act is, in my opinion, a form of procrastination. In business, procrastination can be debilitating.
Overcoming the tendency to avoid dealing with a tough situation will position your business for exceptional performance. Don’t let status quo get a foothold.
I was with a group of 12 senior executives a few weeks ago and we were discussing how to create a culture of over-achievement. I asked them to write down the 3 most nagging performance inhibitors within their respective companies. Then I asked them to look at their calendars over the next 60 days. They all discovered a disturbing disconnect. Their days were filled with meetings and low value activity. One CFO in the room said
I’m just going through the motions of my job. Where am I making a difference?
Suddenly, I was looking at a very humbled group of business leaders.
“So, what now?” I inquired of the group. They all had an answer. One CEO said “I’ve sensed for a while that our Technological capabilities were falling short of what the business requires, yet I have “walked past” the problem for a long time, even when others have pointed it out. Now I know what I need to do tomorrow.” Another brought up a major capability gap within product development that had been ignored. Another admitted to a failing sales leader who had been struggling for over a year. Everyone in the room had their gremlins. They each now recognized what they have to do tomorrow…as a leader.
What are your nagging performance inhibitors? Pick one – right now. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to fix it. Get others in the business to follow your lead. Your organization will be better for it.
May 2017 be a year of prosperity and personal growth.