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Getting Better Results: Ten Leadership Imperatives

Open any business publication these days, and you’ll see eye-catching headlines that reflect the growing need for rapid change, improvement, and better results: “Business as Usual a Formula for Disaster”, “Change or Die”, and “Memo to Top Manager: Improve Results or Go.”

The pressures of the global marketplace are forcing business leaders around the world to change and take action to defend their market share and protect profitability. Organizations are implementing a myriad of changes, including large-scale restructuring, process redesign, channel consolidation, and mergers and acquisitions. While all of these large-scale changes have the potential to improve performance, they will not provide a maximum return on investment without effective, hands-on, and trustworthy leadership at all levels of their enterprises.

The Major Myths about Rewarding Employees

Myth #1: Money is the best reward.

Research shows that money does not itself constitute a strong, ongoing reward. Like having a nice office, it can give a temporary boost in morale and energy. The key roles for money and nice offices are that they can stop people from feeling worse.

Myth #2: Employees are professionals: They should just ‘suck it up’ and do their jobs.

That view is outdated. Workers can no longer be treated like machines. They come at a high price and can cost as much to replace. Workers expect to be valued as human beings. Today, rewarding them is done as a partnership between the supervisors and their workers.

Succession Planning: How Deep Is Your Talent Pool?

Mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, and growth all require information about key executives and a framework for assessing the competencies required to lead people through extraordinary times. Much of the impetus for the current succession planning movement followed September 11, 2001, when 172 corporate vice-presidents lost their lives in the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center. Many of the companies affected that day learned a hard lesson about the importance of accurately evaluating strategic leaders for promotion before the company needs them to take over. However, millions of other companies are now learning the lesson that failure to plan succession can lead to failure of the organization.

The Three Pillars of Executive Onboarding

In light of rising CEO turnover levels and the anticipated shortage of executive talent, onboarding has moved to the forefront in discussions of HR strategy. Driven by concerns about weaknesses in their internal leadership pipelines, anticipated growth, and its talent acquisition implications, many companies are planning significant outside hiring at senior levels.

However, hiring is just the beginning of the story. Having expended time and money to identify and recruit talent, companies can ill afford to have their newly hired executives underperform or end up frustrated and deciding to leave after a year or two. That’s where onboarding comes in. Done well, not only does it accelerate the time to performance for new hires, but it also contributes to talent retention by providing executives with a warm welcome and a supportive environment in which to realize their aspirations.

Passionate Performance: Engaging Minds and Hearts to Conquer the Competition (by Lee Colan, Ph.D)

Passionate Performance: Engaging Minds and Hearts to Conquer the Competition (by Lee Colan, Ph.D)

In today’s hyper-competitive market, a burning question for most companies is: “How can we achieve a significant and sustainable competitive advantage in order to retain our customers?” After all, keeping existing customers is five times less expensive than finding new ones. That’s good business in anyone’s book.

Traditional competitive factors like product design, technology and distribution channels are harder to sustain in a super-fast, mega-networked world. In fact, the good old “Four P’s of Marketing” – product, price, promotion and placement – are having much less impact for companies competing in today’s marketplace. A fifth “P” – people – has become an increasingly important competitive factor. Consider this: About 70% of customers’ buying decisions are based on positive human interactions with sales staff. Add to this the fact that 83% of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from services and information which are created and delivered by people. The bottom line is that people buy from people, not companies. So, your people – and the performance they deliver – are the defining competitive advantage for your organization.