Stop the Rot – Managing Poor Performance ~ Part 1

Managing Poor PerformanceEarlier this year the Roffey Park Institute published their excellent annual report – The Management Agenda. A staggering 46% of UK managers reported that poor performance is not tackled at all well in their organisation, rising to 60% in Public Sector managers.

So what do I mean by Poor Performance? Simply put, poor performance is the failure of an individual to do his or her job, or to do it at an acceptable level. As a manager, you have a responsibility to manage the performance of your people. If you have witnessed poor performance (including inappropriate behaviour), or you are in receipt of a complaint or grievance, you must address this with the people concerned.

Impacts of Poor Performance

In my experience, the impacts of under-performing individuals run much wider than the results of their own performance, or lack of them. Poor performance observed by a supervisor or manager is normally only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of the issue and is only observed after a period of under performance already being noticed and talked about by members of the wider team.

If these behaviours or lack of performance  goes unchecked then the minimal implication for the manager who allows this to continue, is a loss of respect from the team he or she manages. Under-performance in key roles in your department could have a serious impact on you meeting your own department or business objectives, which may have wider personal or business consequences. If you are committed to performing at a high level, and if you expect high performance from everyone, then you as the manager must address poor performers and quickly.

By failing to address poor performance, you are sending a clear message to other team members that they need not meet their performance expectations and they should not expect any consequence for their unacceptable behaviour. Poor performance normally gets worse over time – rarely does it correct itself without action on the part of the manager or supervisor. Taking action against one individual does not lower morale amongst other team members. In fact, the opposite is often true. Often taking action leads to a more productive work environment.

Causes of Poor Performance

I firmly believe that no-one comes to work with a desire to fail. Although at times it may appear that an employee tries to perform poorly, most people actually want to do a good, or at the very least, an adequate, job. So why is it that people sometimes do fail at work? Poor performance can normally be attributed to one or more of the following:

  • Lack of clarity of the Why, the What and the How of their role
  • Lack of feedback and action from their previous or current management
  • Lack of skill, knowledge, or motivation
  • Inability to manage perception or pressure
  • Failure to prioritise
  • Conflict of personalities or styles
  • Over-promotion, where the person is actually out of his or her depth
  • Lack of resources, support, training or cooperation from others
  • Personal issues manifesting themselves at work

Given the cost of recruiting and training new people, helping under-achievers move  from poor to acceptable or better performance is almost always worthwhile.

Your Responsibilities as a Manager

Before moving into tackling the poor performance of your poor performer, you need to ask yourself some key personal questions:

1. Have I set out my performance expectations clearly? – If the person concerned doesn’t understand what is expected, it will be very hard, if not impossible, for them to meet those expectations. Providing clear expectations doesn’t necessarily require you to lay out precisely written, detailed instructions on every performance component. Generally, the question you should ask yourself is: “Would a reasonable person understand what was expected?”

2. Have I been having regular reviews with the poor performer and been giving them feedback? – Such feedback, both positive and negative, whether given in regularly scheduled meetings or in unscheduled discussions, is crucial to ensuring that expectations are understood. Frequent feedback lessens the likelihood that an employee will be surprised if it becomes necessary to take formal steps to resolve poor performance.

3. Have you provided the individual with the tools and training to do their job effectively? – What support have I / could I be giving to help raise performance going forward?

4. Is poor performance a new issue? – If the person in question has always performed adequately in the past, what has changed for them for their performance to dip? Is it a one-off mistake or has there started to become a pattern of events?

If you have answered these questions honestly and you answered ‘No’ to any of them, I would suggest that the poor performance starts with you. It’s never too late to start however!

In part 2, I’ll take you through a 7-step process to guide you through improving people’s performance.

As always, if you have any comments or feedback, I’d love to hear from you.

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Avoid the Mushroom Culture – The Seven Deadly Sins

Mushroom CultureI’m sure many of you have heard people say – ‘They treat us like mushrooms. They keep us in the dark and feed us manure or nothing at all!’

Nothing stifles an organisation’s possibilities more than poor communication. Actually that’s not strictly true. Three things do – telling lies, partial truths or nothing at all.

In this post, I’d like to highlight some of the common pitfalls around communication or lack of it.

Common Communication Pitfalls – The Seven Deadly Sins

1. Not Communicating The ‘Why?’

As Simon Sinek says in his fantastic leadership book , ‘Start with why‘, he says ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. In your organisation, do your people know the ‘why?’ Do they know why they didn’t get a pay rise this year? Do they know why headcount needs to be reduced? Do they know why you’ve just restructured the organisation? Do they know why their job is important to the organisation? Do they know why your organisation exists at all? Do they know why customers buy from your organisation?

As Simon also says in his book, and I paraphrase – ‘Every single one of us knows what we do. Most of us know how to do our jobs, but how many of us know the ‘Why?”

When communicating any message, good or not so good, it’s hugely important to impart the ‘why?’. In my experience, people who are motivated, passionate, and really good at what they do, tend to understand the ‘Why?’. In fact I’d go further and say that I believe the ‘Why’ drives the passion and motivation. It might be a personal ‘Why’, but it will be there.

In today’s economic climate, most people understand that difficult decisions need to be made, but you need to tell them AND the authentic reason for them to buy-in to the message.

2. Communicating Too Slowly or Not At All

People assume the worst when they hear nothing. Good and passionate employees want to know what’s going on in their organisation, and beyond their department boundaries. They want some visibility into the organisation’s plans and where they fit within them. Senior managers who can’t  or won’t discuss their organisation’s goals, strategies, vision and performance are all but guaranteed to spend a great deal of time recruiting. Marketable top performers want to be engaged and involved and won’t stand for being left in the dark without the information they need to do their jobs well.

Just as damaging can be when senior managers hold out for so long on making an announcement that employees start walking the corridors for information. Very often, they are forced to draw their own conclusions (and often the wrong ones!) about the reasons for what’s going to happen or has happened. Perceptions about the company withholding information are often more damaging than providing the “negative” news in the first place.

3. Not Being Honest

The very worst you can do in communicating a message is to lie and only marginally better, to not tell the whole truth. You WILL be found out, and your personal credibility and /or that of your organisation will be damaged, possibly irreparably.

I will make a bold statement. Your people can handle it. You don’t need to couch your message in fluff or half-truths. If your organisation is publicly owned or the message or timing is sensitive, be as honest as you can be without breaking confidence or legislation AND when you are able to say something more, make sure that you do at the first opportunity.

4. One Size Fits All Communication

People process information differently. For some of us, we like to be walked through in a great level of detail in order to fully understand a change or a message. For others a quick email will suffice. For others they may need to hear the message a number of times before the impact of a change on them is understood. Organisations that send out a  single global email imparting important news are failing to get their message across and failing their people. A mix of communication channels need to be thought about carefully when delivering important news or change. Face to face communication is always best, but with the geographic spread of many organisations and service organisations with call centres and shift patterns, this may not always be practical.

I find that a mix of communication channels is the most effective. Further detail on communication channels can be found in a previous post Communicate or Fail Part 1 and Part 2.

5. Assuming Your People Wouldn’t Understand

Organisations don’t employ stupid people. If they do, that’s a whole different blog topic and a short-lived organisation! People have mortgages, children, debt, cars, bills to pay, personal challenges to deal with, bereavement, stress, relationship challenges…I could go on. They can deal with difficult messages. They may need support, but they can handle it! They are also very aware of when a message is being dumbed down or the full story is not being told. If you have a complex message to deliver, make sure that you consider how the message is going to land, what reinforcement might be needed, whether you need to engage with external agencies to help you and what you want and need the outcome to be.

6. Not Checking That The Communication Has Been Understood

I am astounded at the number of businesses that do not measure whether messages or change initiatives are understood, never mind effective. In some cases huge sums of money are spent on internal ‘campaigns’ that are completely ineffective at best or actually have a negative impact on the people that they are trying to motivate. It’s hugely important that all communications campaigns – either external or internal are measured. Even anecdotal feedback from across key influencers within your organisation will give you an indicator of how a message has landed and whether further work is required.

7. No Reinforcement Of Communication By Managers and Supervisors

The ‘Marzipan’ layer as I call it, is rife in many businesses and public sector organisations. Information often stops at the senior management layer and gets no further, at least not consistently if it does. It’s not news that managers are key to effectively delivering messages and engaging employees. When leaders and managers convey confidence to employees, they build trust, which can help stoke employee engagement. In many ways, managers and more importantly team leaders and supervisors are the face of the organisation for employees, vital for translating mission, values and strategy into behaviour and action.

The best companies recognise this connection and go beyond simply providing managers with information to pass along to employees. They prepare managers to move away from cascading corporate messages and toward sharing the meaning of these messages with their team – back to the ‘Why?’. This requires engaging with managers, listening to their reactions, supporting their personal change journeys and crafting content that can be delivered in a manager’s own voice.

By avoiding these 7 deadly sins you’ll have a much better chance of engaging your employees in change.

As always would love to get your feedback and thoughts. Until next time…

Strategy AND Culture For Success

Culture AND Strategy for SuccessHow many times have you seen stories in the business press or seen first-hand within your business examples of failures and successes that have been put down to poor strategy OR the wrong culture?

One company that suffered the fallout of the strategy/culture collision is Kodak.

Kodak was not ambivalent about changing times, making repeated strong statements about where they needed to go, yet they didn’t appear prepared to steer their corporate cultures in that direction. Kodak’s downfall was blamed on its inability to make the leap to digital media, but Kodak had been positioning itself as a digital imaging company for more than a decade. Why was it unsuccessful?  At its core, Kodak was a chemical company whose culture embraced film coatings and processing. When digital media came along, Kodak re-branded itself as a digital imaging company, but the move took it further away from its roots, and company culture could not adapt quickly enough according to many articles written in the last 12 months. The likely re-financing of Kodak  and the sale of its patents and all or part of its document imaging and personalised imaging services likely means that a restructured Kodak would largely focus on commercial imaging, rather than the consumer business. I’m not convinced that this will be the end of their troubles.

Another, even more recent example, is the demise of Comet. Alongside Like Argos, JJB and Habitat, which have also announced closures of many high street stores in the last year, management continued to focus on the high street sales and not moved quickly or effectively to online sales and / or repositioning of its brand. Comet had a great brand and could have developed a strong presence online but did not execute an effective strategy to change its business model and culture with pace.

Conversely, Amazon has grown from the world’s largest book-store into the world’s largest retailer, and is now extending its brand to hardware (the Kindle family of devices) as well as enterprise cloud computing and storage.  Since it began, Amazon’s brand strategy and organisational culture have always been aligned with customer satisfaction, scale, and delivery.   This enables them to remain a global player, even in changing economic conditions.

There are also business commentators and writers that argue either Strategy is more important than Culture or vice versa. From my experience, I would argue that you absolutely require both in equal measure to build a sustainable, successful and profitable organisation giving great service to its customers.

In their book, “Execution – The discipline of getting things done” Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan say:

“When companies fail to deliver on their promises, the most frequent explanation is that the CEO’s strategy was wrong.  But the strategy by itself is often not the cause.  Strategies most often fail because they aren’t executed well.  Things that are supposed to happen, don’t happen.  Either the organisations aren’t capable of making them happen, or the leaders of the business misjudge the challenges their companies face in the business environment or both.”

If the corporate culture is incompatible with business strategy, objectives will not be met. Before changing the corporation’s strategic direction, top management should be prepared to reshape the organisation culture to fit the new strategy.

How do you ensure that these key strands are aligned?

What is your organisation’s culture?

Culture is an expression that suffers from a vague and loose set of definitions, often used conversationally to mean a myriad of things. Numerous business articles and papers refer to corporate culture in fairly simplistic ways, suggesting that it needs to be changed, without bothering to define what the “it” really is.

The more comprehensive our understanding of ‘it’, the greater the likelihood we can factor in culture’s impact on our organisations, and the greater the likelihood that leaders and others can anticipate its consequences.

1. Ask questions of your Leadership Team, your middle managers and your wider organisation

Start at the top and ask yourself some pretty basic, but fundamental questions. Some example questions might be:

a. Why is our organisation here? What do we do and how do we do it? A simple question I know, but I’m willing to wager that you get different answers from those you ask.

b. What are our personal values and those of the organisation? Don’t be afraid to dig beneath the surface. Keep asking the question ‘what else?’ to get to your core values.

c. What are we famous for?

d. Do our values and what we’re known for align with the strategy we have for our business today?

e. How is the organisation structured and which functions tend to ‘lead’ the organisation today?

f. What are the things stopping us from being a ‘Great’ organisation?

Once you have some clear AND agreed answers to these questions test them out with your wider organisation through a combination of surveys, face to face workshops and 121’s with key influencers within the organisation; by influencers I mean people at any level of the organisation that have significant positive OR negative impact with their peers or wider teams.

2. Analyse the results and refine or rework

Spend time analysing your results. Does the wider organisation agree with the Leadership Team on these key questions? You may get some different views! If you do, then you may have a bigger issue and a bigger hill to climb if you want to be successful. Dismiss this feedback at your peril.

Be prepared to go back to the drawing board if your Leadership Team’s answers are completely different to your employees. If there are broad and significant differences I would suggest bringing in a cross-section of people from across your organisation to work on it with you – These could become Change Agents you will need for the next stage of the process.

3. Agree on who you are, what you stand for and why you’re here.

Hopefully after a few refinements or a rework or two, you have got to a point where the Leadership Team, your management and a cross-section of your organisation have agreement on your culture, your values and how it is aligned or not with your strategy.

What does the culture of your organisation need to be to ensure execution of your strategy?

Now that you have a good view of how your organisation’s culture looks today, think about how you want the organisation’s culture to look, if everything were to be correctly aligned, and if you were to have the ideal culture that you know will support you in the execution of your strategy.

Using the same people and questioning process build up a view of what the future organisation looks like.

What needs to change – People, Process, System, Measurement & Behaviours?

Identify the differences between the today’s culture and tomorrow’s. Considering the organisation’s strategic aims, objectives and deliverables:

  • What cultural strengths have been highlighted by your analysis of the current culture that need to remain and grow?
  • What factors are hindering your strategy or are misaligned with one another?
  • What factors are detrimental to the success of your strategy?
  • Which factors do you need to change?
  • What new beliefs and behaviours do you need to promote?

Plan, Prioritise, Execute and Measure

Using your ‘change team’ that you have built up over the previous steps start to build up your plan of attack. Under the headings of People, Process, System, Measurement and Behaviours list out the initiatives and sub-initiatives required to affect the necessary change required to meet and beat your strategic goals. You might find a download of the  ‘The Need for Speed ~ Driving Pace in Your Organisation‘ series useful to help you.

Finally I would suggest 3 areas of focus to ensure that you succeed in aligning your Strategy AND Culture:

1. Executive Sponsorship – Build a coalition of top leaders focused on a set of culture priorities that are meaningful and important to the organisation, their own group and to themselves personally. Without this commitment, passion and belief from the top, your change initiatives have a high probability of failure.

2. Cross-Functional Team –  Engage senior and middle management in making changes to cross-functional processes to introduce more aligned behaviours and values. Build cross-functional teams to assess impact and learn together. Demonstrate success early. Again, ensure that people are fully engaged in the reasons ‘why’ the organisation needs to change and ensure that you get the most passionate people involved in the project.

3. Create momentum – by engaging more and more people, especially managers and supervisors, in shaping culture by design. Build capability. Create organisational energy by creating new ‘heroes’ and quick wins. Build in feedback loops for continuous learning.

As ever, would love to get your feedback….

007 ~ An Agent For Change – Think Oak! – 50th Post Edition

Agent, Change AgentAs both James Bond and myself are sharing a 50th anniversary I thought I’d discuss Agents, Change Agents and how we should all aspire to be one!

Firstly what is a Change Agent?

A Change Agent is a person who leads change within an organisation, by championing change and by helping to communicate the excitement, possibilities, and details of the change to others within the organisation. A change agent doesn’t need to be a full-time, formal role. It can be simply the way someone chooses to be in an organisation.

What are the personal qualities of the ‘007’ of Change Agents?

The Best  Change Agents ‘LIVE AND LET DIE’

L – Love Change!

Probably not a surprise to you that the best agents of change, love change! They thrive on being involved in new ideas, initiatives and projects and are not afraid to roll their sleeves up to get the job done.

I – Innovative

I’m not talking of their ability to develop exploding pens, but innovation in the way they communicate, engage and enrol others in the change effort. They don’t just come up with ideas, they know how to apply them.  Great Change Agents are curious, experimental, and they apply their discoveries to the organisation’s goals.

V – Visionary

Great change agents help to shape the future. They can see very clearly where the change effort needs to go and have a clear vision of what the future will feel and look like, and more importantly the key steps to take the organisation there.

E – Enthusiastic

Change Agents need have enthusiasm in abundance. It can often be a tough role and often requires a great deal self-motivation to keep momentum in an organisational change effort.

A – Articulate

Communication is THE most important part of being a good agent for change. The best of the best have the ability to articulate the WIIFM – ‘What’s In It For Me’ at all levels of the organisation. They know what makes people tick and know how change will impact individuals and teams alike.

N – Not afraid to speak the truth

This one is certainly near the top of my list for a killer Change Agent. Change Agents, by their very nature, speak to people on the shop floor right the way up to Chief Executive levels in organisations. They hear what the ‘troops’ are saying and they see how the senior management interact and behave. By being effective, and by speaking the ‘awful’ truth when necessary, they can be the conduit from bottom to the top of an organisation, conveying key news, good or bad, straight to the people who can change things for the better.

D – Deliver + 1%

Bond always delivers and then some. So do great Change Agents. They always go the extra mile to ensure that everyone that is impacted by change are engaged, enrolled and bought in to what is required of them. They work tirelessly to engage with the key influencers to ensure that the organisation is as prepared as they can be for change.

L – Listening

Those that are avid readers of Think Oak! know of my passion for generous or active listening. Great Change Agents are masters at listening for what is being said and more importantly for what is not being said, taking time to really understand the challenges that individuals, teams, departments and functions face. They take this feedback and tailor communications and training as well as feeding the learning back into the wider organisation.

E – Empathetic

To many people, change is unsettling, at best and to some downright scary. A solitary piece of generic communication to the organisation is unlikely to affect change and unlikely to address people’s questions or concerns. Change Agents invest time to understand people’s worries and address them with empathy to get the right results.

T – Trusted

For Change Agents to be effective, they have to a reputation of trust with their peers and others in the organisation. They always do what they say they’ll do.

D – Decisive

Change Agents can’t be procrastinators. Decisions often need to be made quickly especially around people issues and business impact challenges. Great Change Agents act with urgency and aren’t afraid to deliver difficult messages to senior management or management teams.

I – Influencer

Stakeholder awareness and management is crucial to the success of any major organisational change programme. An effective Change Agent is a key influencer in an organisation. The have the ability AND relationships, to overcome issues and barriers quickly. They very often anticipate the challenges ahead and engage with key stakeholders in advance to smooth the road ahead.

E – Egoless

Top Change Agents are not in it for themselves. They are 100% behind the change itself and the success of the organisation.

So whilst a ‘007’ Change Agent isn’t quite as glamorous an individual as James Bond, they’re still pretty special.

Hope you enjoyed the post. As always, would love to hear any feedback you may have.

Self-limiting Beliefs ~ Part 2

Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right!In part 1, we established what Self-limiting Beliefs are, what causes them and how to identify your own, because we all have them. In this post, I will be focussing the most common self-limiting beliefs and how to start tackling them in your life.

It is extremely easy to let our self-limiting beliefs take over our lives or at least keep us from fulfilling our potential, especially when we’re going through a challenging period at work or in our relationships or if we’re feeling a little run-down, or all three!

Some people, who let their self-limiting beliefs take over their thinking for prolonged periods of time, can be significantly impacted by them and in some cases may even lead to mental health issues. Many people aren’t even aware that these beliefs exist, never mind that they can do anything about them; they believe that it’s just the way they are and therefore can’t find a way out. I’ve listed some of the most common self-limiting beliefs below. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Not being good enough ~ at something to everything

Most of us at some time or another have felt that we weren’t good enough. You need to believe that perfection simply doesn’t exist. There will always be someone who is faster, stronger, bigger, richer, younger, older than you. Stop comparing yourself to others. You never compare how much better you are, you look at how well THEY are doing. Focus on being the best you can be. Put all that energy you spend focussing on others on improving YOU.

By releasing yourself from the stress of perfection, you will be able to perform at the top of your skills.

Not being loved

Many people go through life trying to be who they think other people want them to be in order to win love and acceptance.

The most important person, however, is ourselves. It is far more important to totally love and accept ourselves exactly as we are. Once we can do that, we attract to us people who also love and accept themselves and they can then love and accept us exactly as we are. We don’t have to pretend to be something we are not to love ourselves and to be loved by others.

Fear of rejection

I love this quote by Bo Bennett and he articulates rejection much better than me – ‘It is not rejection itself that people fear, it is the possible consequences of rejection. Preparing to accept those consequences and viewing rejection as a learning experience that will bring you closer to success, will not only help you to conquer the fear of rejection, but help you to appreciate rejection itself. ‘

Fear of failure

Failure is often seen as unacceptable. We are encouraged to innovate but avoid “wasting” time or money. When we fail, we may be threatened or even punished by employers, spouses and parents. This negative experience can lead to a fear of failure, especially if this has been built up over many years. A low-level of fear can be inspiring, but a higher level of fear can become a full-blown phobia, limiting your potential. If you missed Six of the Best …. Failures take a look at some really big failures!

Feelings of being unattractive

These issues plague even the most admired, sought-after people in our society. Just because you feel ugly doesn’t mean you are or that others perceive you that way. They are just another self-limiting belief that plagues thousands of people every day.

The list above is in no way exhaustive. They all do relate to self-esteem in one way or another however. So how do we start to address self-limiting beliefs.

Tackling your Self-Limiting Beliefs

If you have read part 1 and tried out the steps of understanding what your self-limiting beliefs are, hopefully you will have begun to understand some areas for you to work on. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it may take some time to get to the root cause of some of your unhelpful beliefs. Some of the following steps will still help you along the way.

So, 3 easy ABC steps, well, easy to remember, a little bit harder to practice:

1 . AWARENESS –  Catch yourself when your inner dialogue is being unhelpful, hindering or downright horrible to you. Which of your self-limiting beliefs is your inner dialogue addressing?

2. BELIEF – You are good enough, you’re not a loser, you can lose weight if you want to, you can be a good public speaker, you can find a way around the problem. You just need to believe that you can. I’ll try to illustrate this with a well publicised example:

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister was the first man in history to run a sub four-minute mile, 3:59.6 to be precise. At the time it was said that the human heart/lung capacity combined with our muscular skeletal system made it an impossibility. Some said he might even die trying. Roger Bannister believed the four-minute barrier could be broken. He believed he could do it, even though he had never run a mile in under four minutes. The fact that he proved it could be done, started to have a major impact on the self-limiting beliefs of others. Six weeks later, an Australian runner broke Bannister’s record. Within a year more than 20 people had run sub four-minute miles. Today it is not uncommon for high school athletes and people in their 40’s to run the mile in under four minutes with the record over 15 seconds quicker than in 1954!  Belief has a BIG impact on the art of the possible.

So you need to have that belief that you can change your subconscious, your inner dialogue, before you move to the next step.

3. CHALLENGE – Really challenge your self-doubt. Find an example when you have been a success, felt attractive, did feel loved. With self-limiting beliefs we have a habit of filtering these moments out of our memories and therefore lives. If you can’t find an example, don’t worry. Challenge your inner dialogue by changing the internal words to something different. So for example:

From: Well you really messed that up! – To: What have I learnt from that and how can I do better next time?

From: You’ll never get that promotion! – To: What’s the next way that I can really prove that I’m up for a challenge?

From: I can’t speak in front of these people! – To: I really know and am passionate about my topic, I’m going to rehearse it every day before it happens, and I’m going to be confident!

If you challenge your negative inner dialogue quickly, and replace it with something more positive, you will start to feel better about yourself or the situation. Persevere! It does take practice, but it does help. Within a matter of weeks you will begin to notice a difference. Don’t forget that many of your limiting beliefs have been with you for years and you won’t fix them over night!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite poems, given to me by my late father on my 21st birthday. I just wish that I’d understood it fully at the time!

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will.

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man.

But soon or late the man who wins,

Is the man who thinks he can.

~ C. W. Longenecker ~

If you enjoyed the post or have any feedback, I’d love to hear from you! Until next time…

Self-limiting Beliefs – Part 1

self-limiting beliefsIf you are one of those people who constantly has negative thoughts or feelings running around inside you, or you find yourself regularly repeating bad habits or destructive patterns, most likely you have a hidden self-limiting belief lurking in your mind, holding you back from reaching your full potential, preventing you from being the BEST YOU CAN BE!

What are Self-Limiting Beliefs?

Self-limiting beliefs are opinions we have of ourselves that prevent us from doing certain things based on our perceptions of  our own behaviours, abilities and lifestyles. When we talk of self-limiting beliefs, we are often not necessarily talking about something real or tangible. We are talking about a train of thought that could lead us to act in ways that are not helpful to us. Our belief system acts as a filter through which we see the world, and influences our take on life. This series of posts will help people to understand the power of the belief system, how it can influence our lives and what we can do to change it for the better! Our beliefs about ourselves, those around us and the world at large effect who we are and how we behave. Beliefs are merely thoughts that with a little encouragement and repetition from our over-active minds transform into facts over time. Once we have formed a self-limiting belief, we continue to pursue evidence to prove that our belief is real. These beliefs are backed up by our inner dialogue, providing further evidence to back up our negative or ‘unhelpful’ thoughts. How many times have you caught yourself saying:

  • I knew I’d be no good at this!
  • This always happens to me – I’m useless!
  • I never win at anything!
  • I’ll never get a great job!
  • I’ll never be as wealthy as them!
  • I could never be a sales person!
  • I’m terrible at public speaking!

Sound familiar? All of these phrases mask a self-limiting belief and if we say them to ourselves often enough, they tend to become reality. At best, they can prevent us from meeting our potential; at worst they can lead to significant impacts in our ability to function in certain aspects of our lives or relationships.

What Causes Self-Limiting Beliefs?

We are NOT born with self-limiting beliefs – Fact. Also a fact is that we are born with only two innate fears; firstly a fear of loud noises and secondly a fear of falling for very obvious evolutionary reasons. From the day we are born, however, our environment influences us – our parents, our broader family, our teachers, our friends, our society, our colleagues, the news, television, music and so on. Don’t believe me? Below are some well used phrases commonly used in our formative years. As you read through these, how do the phrases make you feel? Do they impact or resonate with you in any way? Do any of them lead to feelings you don’t like or stir deep-rooted or forgotten memories?

From Parents From Teachers / Adults From School Friends / Siblings
Children should be seen and not heard You will never amount to anything if …. Don’t be a baby
Respect your elders It’s really tough to become a vet, have you thought about …. instead? You’re stupid / fat / ugly
You are just like your brother You can’t have your cake and eat it too You’re rubbish at …..!
Do as I say, not as I do We’ve always done it that way I’m much better at …..than you!
If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything Big boys don’t cry You’re the worst in the team!
You’re too young to understand Don’t be so stupid. Nobody likes you
Just wait until your dad comes home Why can’t you be smart like … Why would anyone want to play / go out / marry you?
Boys will be boys Don’t you know anything? You’re not cool like us
Why can’t you be more like your sister? Ask a silly question and you get a silly answer If you don’t do it, I’ll……
Whilst you’re living under my roof, you’ll abide by my rules! For a smart person you have no common sense. You could never be a …., you’re not clever enough
What happened, you used to be so good at ….. You should know better I’ll always have more ….than you
I thought you liked …. I am always right She’s well out of your league!

All of these relationships in our early years play a big part in who we become and how we interpret the world. If you are raised or brought up in a culture of limited belief, this will certainly influence the lens through which you see the world. This is how and when an individual begins to develop their self-image. As you mature into adulthood, you don’t see a world of unlimited possibilities, rather a world of limitation. As a child in any environment, whether it’s home, school, or socially, if you’re told often enough that you can’t do something, eventually you will learn to believe it. The mind will soak up what it sees, hears or is told to believe over time, even if negative in nature. Once we have limitation embedded in our brains, we learn not to see potential or possibility in certain aspects of our lives. We shut them out, unconsciously in many cases. In other words we discount them without considering them at all.

How to Identify Your Self-Limiting Beliefs?

It’s not as difficult as you might think to discover your self-limiting belief.

1. Listen to your negative thoughts

We all have inner dialogues. We talk to ourselves all the time. Start paying attention to what you’re saying and when you catch yourself having unhelpful, hindering or negative thoughts about yourself or what you think you can or can’t achieve. If you can, make a note of them in the moment so you can start to see if there are any patterns. You may start to see a pattern of self-limiting beliefs.

2. Ask yourself some questions

Look at the following partial sentences and complete them honestly. Give as many answers to each one as you can. Spot any themes any in your answers. These may give you some clues as to the root cause of your self-limiting belief.

  • I am…
  • I am not…
  • I am good with…
  • I am not good with…
  • I will never be able to…
  • I am held back by…
  • I always…
  • I never…

3. Monitor Your Emotional Responses

Another method of self-monitoring is catching yourself over-reacting badly to a given situation. What did you react to? What was said? What specifically upset you and why? Has anything similar happened in the past and how did you feel on those occasions?

4. Ask someone you trust

Once you’ve spent some time on the first three (it could take a few weeks!), talk over some of the outcomes with someone who knows you well, whom you trust and that will give you honest feedback.

You might not feel like talking this through at this stage, and that’s ok. You may also have uncovered something in your past that you need to think about and work through before you talk to someone about it, but talking through your findings will help you when you feel you’re ready to.

This concludes Part 1. In Part 2, I’ll be looking at some ways in which you can start to tackle your self-limiting beliefs head on.

Aptitude or Attitude~ What makes a Star Performer?

Star Performer - Attitude or AptitudeI’ve been thinking a great deal of late about what makes the difference between a good team member and a great one, or for that matter a good leader or a great one.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Attitude is a key defining factor.

Who are the stars in your organisation? What characteristics do they possess that make them your top choice? Generally, the best employee is the one who exhibits desired behaviours, i.e. attitude, in addition to having a strong skill set in what’s needed for the job.

What constitutes a ‘great’ attitude? What attitudes make a STAR PERFORMER?

S – Self-belief

The person with self-belief believes in his or her abilities and strides forward with the expectation of success. Others can see and feel that confidence. They are not arrogant – they don’t have to be. Being self-assured means you are secure in your own specific abilities and are happy to let others shine in their own ways. Confident people are not overly sensitive and don’t have big egos. Those who are truly self-assured are the ones you feel good being around.

T – Tenacity

It is often not always the strongest, nor brightest that succeed. Sometimes it is the one who simply refuses to give in – who fights against every discouragement, who presses through every difficulty, who ignores every prediction of failure, who spares no effort, who sees no problem as insolvable and no obstacle as insurmountable. A person with tenacity simply believes that there is a way even when everyone else thinks there is not!

A – Approachability

Don’t you find that your highest performers are often the most approachable? They’re always happy to help, even when they’re really busy. You often find that your star performers are also great coaches because their so approachable and are good at what they do.

R – Resiliency

I’ve also discovered that those who are extremely positive don’t resist life’s events, curse their fate or bemoan how bad things always happen to them. Instead, they believe that everything happens for a reason. This approach helps them to overcome setbacks and “go with the flow.” They learn lessons fast and don’t make the same mistakes again.

P – Positive Energy

A person with high personal energy has a positive outlook on various situations, even during difficult times, maintaining the perspective that the glass is half full rather than half empty. Their energy tends to motivate others as well as themselves!

E – Exceed Expectations

Star Performers go above and beyond the call of duty of their day-to-day tasks. They pay attention to details, seek solutions to problems, and provide a high level of commitment in their duties. In short, they deliver and some, consistently.

R – Responsibility

Anyone that says – ‘That’s not my job’ or says ‘I passed it on to Dave to do, hasn’t he done it?’ or ‘Oh sorry, I forgot’ is not taking responsibility. People that take responsibility, take ownership and take the initiative. If they see something that can be done in a better way, they make it happen; they take decisions; they’re accountable for their actions and they also take responsibility for their own personal development and performance.

F – Focus

Star Performers focus on the right things, not only to meet their objectives, but they also focus on doing the ‘right thing’. Star performers are driven by results and stretch targets. See my previous post ~ Focus on Focus.

O – Openness

Authenticity and generous listening are great behaviours that are not always prevalent in business. These behaviours do get results and often much more quickly. Great businesses need people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in the best way possible — in a positive, confident, and respectful manner.

R – Reliability

Star Performers deliver. You can count on him or her to deliver good performance all the time, not just some of the time.

M – Motivated

No matter what the task, a star performer will always perform it without grumbling or with lacklustre, in fact quite the opposite. They’ll absolutely immerse themselves in the task until it’s complete.

E – Enterprising

An enterprising employee is one who is always coming up with new ideas, new ways to do things and innovative solutions to problems. They can be difficult to manage and they can get frustrated by lack of pace. BUT, if you can harness their energy and help them deliver some of their ideas that make a

R – Respectful

Star Performers are always respectful of others, even if they have differing views. They generously listen to what others have to say before expressing their viewpoint. They never speak over, or cut off another person. Star performers never insult people, name call, disparage or put down people or their ideas. They treat people the same no matter their status, race, religion, gender, size, age, or country of origin.

Know any Star Performers? Take some time to spot individuals demonstrating these attitudes in your organisation. With the right coaching and support, they could be your greatest asset and leaders of the future.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Six of the Best …. Failures

Following on from my last post Fail to Learn, Learn to Fail, I’ve done some research into some famous business people to see how rocky their road to success was. I was surprised by a few names and fascinated by others, so I thought I’d share some of them with you:

Walt DisneyWalt Disney

‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’

Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. Legend has it he was turned down 302 times before he got financing for creating Disney World. He kept going with his mantra – Dream, Believe, Dare, Do and eventually found a recipe for success that transformed the dreams of millions of children and adults alike. Unfortunately he wasn’t alive to see his Walt Disney World vision become reality.

Winston Churchill

‘Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.’

This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom wasn’t always as well-regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and performed poorly. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.

During Churchill’s political career, he made numerous decisions that would turn into failures. In the First World War, he led the troop who invaded Turkey in order to establish a southern link with Russia, which resulted into a complete failure and loss of many young soldiers from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, ANZAC. In the Second World War he was chiefly responsible for taking over Norway and he was defeated by the German army. In spite of all the failures and criticism, Churchill is regarded as one of the greatest leaders and orators of the 20th century.

In 1953 he received the Noble Prize for Literature for the book ‘The Second World War’, In 1963, the US Congress granted him an honorary American citizenship. In 1940 and in 1949, the Time magazine honoured Churchill with the “Man of the Year”.

J.K. RowlingJ. K. Rowling

‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.’

Jo Rowling is a huge success on a global scale due to her Harry Potter stories, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel, which incidentally was rejected by 12 publishers before being published by Bloomsbury. Rowling went from struggling to survive on benefits to being one of the richest women in the world in a span of only five years through her hard work and determination.

Richard BransonRichard Branson

‘You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over’

Richard Branson has tried many different things in his life. He likes to compete and prove to bigger players that the smaller ones can indeed win too in business.

Virgin Cola, introduced by Richard Branson in 1994 as the rival to Coca-Cola, has practically disappeared. Virgin Clothes, launched on the stock exchange in 1996, folded with losses to shareholders, after debuting with promising new trends in providing more edgy wardrobe to the young. Virgin Money was launched with a viral and somewhat controversial advertising campaign, panned by critics with Richard Branson emerging naked from the sea, but did not deliver the expected big financial rewards to its shareholders. Then came Virgin Vie, Virgin Vision, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Wine, Virgin Jeans, Virgin Brides, Virgin Cosmetics and Virgin Cars – All the major brands who wanted to compete and earn a huge market share from established brands in those areas, failed to live up towards expectations.

He has lost millions upon millions, if not billions, over the years. Many people would have given up along the way. But he hasn’t allowed his failures to stop him from trying again. He has learnt from his mistakes and gone on to be extremely successful again and again. It is his willingness to give things a go that has seen him succeed. He sees his failures as a step to success.

Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein

‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.’

Most people would come up with the name Albert Einstein, if you asked them to name a genius.  Yet even for Einstein genius did not come easy.  He had speech difficulties as a child and was once even thought to be mentally handicapped. As a teen he rebelled against his schools reliance on rote learning and failed.  He tried to test into Zurich Polytechnic, but failed again (although he did very well in the mathematics and physics section!  A few years later he had a PHD and was recognized as a leading theorist.  A few years after that he had a Nobel prize for physics and began to be recognized as the genius of our modern era.

James DysonJames Dyson

‘By fostering an environment where failure is embraced, even those of us far from our student days have the freedom to make mistakes — and learn from them still. No one is going to get it right the first time. Instead of being punished for mistakes along the way, learn from them. I fail constantly. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.’

While developing his vacuum, Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings over 15 years. By the time he made his 15th prototype, his third child was born. By 2,627, he was really struggling financially. By 3,727, Dyson’s wife was giving art lessons for some extra cash. Each failure brought him closer to solving the problem. It wasn’t the final prototype that made the struggle worth it. The 5,127th prototype worked and now the Dyson brand is one of the best-selling vacuum cleaners in the World.

Hope you enjoyed reading Six of the Best…Failures. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes of the moment :

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Fail to Learn, Learn to Fail

Failure

In this post I’d like to cover some common failures of leaders and managers. We all make mistakes, and that’s actually a good thing, as long as you learn from them…and learn quickly. I’m going to draw from my experiences and those of people I’ve met along the way and hopefully save you some time and some pain.

1)    Waiting too long to address under-performance

I’ve seen this so many times in my career and have been guilty of it myself in the past. Many of us like to think the best of people and think that with encouragement, coaching and focussed objectives everyone can make the grade or better. Not so, certainly not all the time. There comes a point when you have to take decisive action.

These situations almost always get worse if left alone. They never get better on their own. Understanding the real issues and taking action quickly leads to faster improvement and reduces the risk of unrecoverable failure for your team members and yourself.

You need to ask yourself the following questions?

a)     Does your team member know what is expected of them? Have they got SMART Objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound)?

b)    Does your team member have the capability and skills to do what you need of them? Do you and they know what needs to be changed? Have you got time to get there?

c)     Are they passionate about what they do? Maybe they’re ‘a square peg in a round hole’ i.e. they’re in the wrong role for their skills.

d)    Have you ensured that they are receiving feedback? Don’t trust that just because you’ve discussed it with their manager, it’s happened…Follow up. Don’t trust that just because the words have come out of your mouth, they’ve got it. Get them to play back what they’ve heard and let them tell you what they’re doing about it.

e)     Is their performance impacting other members of the team negatively? Are you hearing this from more than one or two people?

Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, make a decision to act and then act. Stick to a plan. Set objectives, measure performance, give feedback, coach, give more feedback and if the person’s performance or behaviour doesn’t change, make a decision, and yes follow process, but move the person; either to a different role, or out of your business. It will be hard, but it is the right thing to do – Right for you, for the team, and in my experience, right for the individual.

2)    Not linking Strategy to Objectives or Pay

If you pay your sales team only on winning new business and you’re not setting objectives to any of your teams on retention or great customer service….you will fail.

If you incentivise your people on revenue, they won’t focus on profitability and you will fail.

If you want the best customer service in your industry and you pay people on lowest call times…you will fail.

If you want your executive team, or your management team to change the culture of the business for the long term, make sure that they are compensated on it, or you will fail.

You get the picture, but many don’t. If you want to shift the momentum of a department or a function or a full business, you need to align how people are compensated behind that vision.

3)    It’s ‘their’ fault

Let’s get something straight. If you take ownership for delivering something, big or small, it’s no-one else’s fault but your own. True ownership means, tenacity – not taking ‘no’ as an answer, not taking ‘it can’t be done’ as an answer. You keep going, keep pushing, you fight for resource, you fight for priority, you fight for your goals. You make yourself unpopular. Yes…but. No buts. If you agree to take ownership of something, you deliver it or you face the consequences. Stand by your goals!

4)    I thought they knew what they had to deliver

This is a big one. Communicating top priorities creates the basis of focus for an organisation, team or individual. However, without clear definitions of success, management and employees can be aiming for very different levels of performance. This creates significant risk in execution to committed operating plans and strategic projects.

Leaders need to be very precise in defining how they are going to measure success. What indicators are going to be used? What weight will be put on different measures? And what are the specific target levels for each of those measures that are expected?

Highly visionary leaders struggle with this more than most. They tend to be heavy on pitching big ideas, but very light on communicating priority and specific expectations.

a)     What’s the big idea?

Visionaries get this. They have the idea. They have the passion. They feel they have communicated it. But your team may not.

b)    What are the under-pinning principles?

What guiding principles underpin the big idea? No more than 5 – In priority order if possible. These principles will help your people define the boundaries of the big idea. Make sure that your people, especially your influencers understand the big idea AND the principles.

c)     Get your people to shape the plan

Ok, so your key players understand the big idea, they’ve thrashed out principles and priorities with your help. Let them build the plan. You sign it off. But let them ‘own’ the plan…and the targets.

d)    Review and feedback

Keep on top of the plan, regularly. Give feedback, but don’t take over. If you’ve got the wrong people on the team, change them. If the numbers aren’t coming, evaluate what you’re doing and either change your course or focus extra energy on results.

5)    Accepting the status quo

I’ve spent my whole career being frustrated by the status quo. No system is perfect. If it was, the animal kingdom would not have evolved. Competition would not exist. Siblings would not try to out-do each other. There would be no Olympic Games or Premier League. Business is no different.

I’m amazed at the lack of attention to detail in business. We get feedback every day from our customers – directly or indirectly. Do ‘we’ listen to the news, surveys, research, phone calls, letters of complaint….?

Only the best businesses truly listen to feedback and act upon it. And by business I mean, every part, every person in the business listens and more importantly ACT on feedback.

Companies that stick with the status quo, fail.

6)    Stop communicating – Engage, Enrol, Involve

People are not stupid. They have lives, they have mortgages, they have complicated relationships, they have children, they have debts, they have secrets, they have dreams. Don’t give them a mouse mat or a piece of paper and expect them to ‘vote’ for your strategy. Talk to them, listen to them, find out what they care about, let them help you with your strategy. Listen to their ideas. Morph your strategy to the best ideas. Bring the most enthusiastic into your inner circle, no matter what their grade.

Forget emails, slides, videos, intranets and 3 minutes at a team briefing in isolation. If you only use these methods without truly engaging with your people and getting their buy-in and belief, you will fail.

7)    I won’t tell them, it’s in their best interests.

Rightly or wrongly, businesses often hide the truth from their people and often for the ‘right’ reasons. The days of mass union action have gone. Some will disagree.

Everyone that has an element of commercial awareness, knows that sometimes, tough decisions have to be made. One day that could impact you.

I don’t know about you, but I would rather know. I would then have time to make plans.

My advice, some would say naively, tell people the truth. Give them enough time to make plans or change direction.

I hope this post provoked some thought and hopefully some ideas to help you reflect on past failures and how you may improve, going forward.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

The Need for Speed ~ Driving Pace in Your Organisation ~ Part 4

Execution of the Plan

In part 3 of this four part series of blogs I covered the importance of PACE to improve organisational effectiveness and speed and specifically Communication:

PACE = Planning + Alignment + Communication + Execution

The fourth and final part of The Need for Speed ~ Driving Pace in Your Organisation will focus on Execution of your plan to acheive your One Magnificent Goal, your OMG!

Execution

Thomas Edison famously said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” It’s true. And as the hallucinations of countless business leaders have proved, knowing what you want to do or where you want the company to be may be less than half the battle.

a) Co-ordination and control of programmes and projects

Failure to execute has several root causes. Below are several common reasons why companies fail to execute their strategic plans fully:

  • Poor prioritisation of resource – Every goal cannot be the top priority, but we set ourselves up for failure by treating them all as if they were equal. Organisations lack the energy or focus to take on too many goals at once. Even if the capacity were there to take on unlimited amounts of work associated with implementation of strategic goals – it is a bad idea to over extend.
  • Lack of detail planning to support goal achievement – Detailed planning involves breaking down work into smaller parts. It is far easier to solve a small puzzle than to launch into solving a massive one. Inch Pebbles not Mile Stones!
  • Poor communication and coordination – Failure to communicate and educate is a huge factor in many failed plans. Employees who are responsible and accountable for their scope of execution must understand what is to be done, when and how that affects the overall outcome.
  • Strategy and culture misalignment – Execution cannot be planned without consideration of the organisation’s culture.
  • Accountability missing from goals – Everyone is accountable in accomplishing their individual tasks that are required to achieve the overarching OMG and some, including the CEO, may be accountable for reinforcement of the tasks.
  • Poor governance – Governance enables organisations to manage the interrelationships of all underlying initiatives comprising their OMG. Governance also provides the boundaries and check points needed to keep programs in alignment with the plan.
  • Ill-defined initiatives – Once ambiguity creeps into the scope of any initiative, it leads to confusion and failure in execution. The language used to state goals is usually where the problems start. Initiatives must be carefully constructed in order to be crisp and well understood. In addition, they must be measurable.

To be successful a project must:

· Deliver the outcomes and benefits required by the organisation

· Create and implement deliverables that meet agreed requirements;

· Meet time targets and stay within financial budgets;

· Involve all the right people;

· Make best use of resources in the organisation and elsewhere;

· Take account of changes in the way the organisation operates;

· Manage any risks that could jeopardise success;

· Take into account the needs of staff and other stakeholders who will be impacted by the changes brought about by the project.

· Keep stakeholders and staff in the loop as to your progress and get them ready for any impacts of the project.

b) Ownership and accountability

At work, people who have a high level of accountability will take initiative to ensure the success of a project, provide early warning of potential problems, and try to resolve a problem even if it is not their fault.

One reason we hesitate to tackle the accountability problem in a timely way is a lack of clarity on what the person is accountable for in the first place. Discussions about accountability can be straightforward and potential conflicts less intense when everyone knows ahead of time what is expected and how success will be measured. Establishing this clarity also reduces the likelihood of having to have the discussions in the first place.

Being accountable comes naturally to some people. For many of us, however, the more natural tendency is to justify and explain why we are not responsible when things go wrong. Although you cannot change human nature, those of us in a managerial or leadership role can help create an environment that enables others to operate at a higher level of responsibility. The key is to set people up for success by clarifying expectations up front and building in time to make course corrections before the deadline. This helps avoid the need to make excuses.

When targets are missed, asking three questions can solve the problem: What can you do right now to get back on track? How did you contribute to this situation? What can you do in the future to ensure this will not happen again? This approach doesn’t try to pinpoint blame and helps minimise the threat to the person’s self-image. These three questions, along with techniques to deal with a defensive response effectively, also minimises the need to make excuses as you and the other person collaborate on finding a solution.

c) Rapid and Effective Decision Making

There are three things you can do to improve the quality and speed of decisions.

a) Make sure that people closest to the action are making the decisions. This can require a change in organisational structure and, when this is not possible, empowering people and holding them accountable for taking the initiative and addressing issues when they arise.

b) Involve the right people in decisions. This helps ensure that you include perspectives and experiences other than your own and also helps fill in relevant data that you might not possess.

c) Use an objective, systematic process so that you won’t let emotion or bias cloud the issues or simply default to the kinds of decisions you’ve made in the past. This will also force you to incorporate risk assessment in your decision-making.

These last two actions ensure that we have access to a range of perspectives and information that might not otherwise be available to us, and increases the likelihood that we will be more thoughtful when making choices.

Organisations that are the best at execution also create operating plans that are coordinated across departments and levels, expect and encourage top performance from everyone, hold people accountable for results, make high-quality decisions by ensuring that the right people are talking about the right things at the right time.

In summary, PACE – Planning, Alignment, Communication and Execution will drive speed in your organisation. You as a leader will need High Energy and Focus to keep PACE on track and you’ll need a strong team around you to deliver your OMG. The rewards in achieving your OMG will be worth it!

That concludes the final part of The Need for Speed ~ Driving Pace in Your Organisation. If you missed the first three parts please click Part 1 – Planning, Part 2 – Alignment and Part 3 – Communication.

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