Getting from here to a more profitable there isn’t just about charting the right course; it requires bridging the gaps. In many organizations, the biggest cracks are caused or widened by the leadership team.
Case in point is a very reputable staffing firm that has yet to live up to it’s full potential. Customers love them, candidates adore them, and they have the satisfaction scores to prove it. Yet, this company has yet to break through their self-imposed glass ceiling which keeps growth well below their market potential. What’s lacking is a leadership team that drives business versus reacting to the market, creates opportunities versus constantly solving problems, and innovates versus perpetuating the status quo. This deficit in leadership is all that’s keeping this outstanding firm from being more dominant and more profitable.
How big is the Leadership Deficit in your company? To get started, here are three of the critical areas to assess and address:
1. Do leaders spend more time creating roles or filling open seats?
One sure sign that there’s a Leadership Deficit is in the hiring being done by operational and sales leaders. Filling seats is a backwards looking exercise that maintains the status quo, while creating new roles demonstrates that these managers are looking ahead, creating and seizing opportunities ahead of your competitors.
2. Are managers spending more time managing people or numbers?
The numbers never lie, but there’re a terrible way to manage a company. Numbers should be used as just one indicator that informs leaders on how to manage, versus burying their heads in data that keeps them isolated from people. Managers need to spend hours more with their direct reports instead of just reading reports that never provide a complete picture.
3. Do leaders anticipate or react to production issues?
Poor results don’t just happen, yet, too many of today’s managers are consistently waiting too long to address the causes. The better leaders are watching for the slightest change in the pulse of the team and paying careful attention to the nuances in each individual from day to day. This active form of leadership is allowing them to avert problems and seize opportunities, propelling these companies to have better cultures and more consistent, positive results.
Plans are great, but the failure to have a plan that closes the Leadership Deficit makes achieving those plans difficult, if not impossible. These final months of the year are a great time to plan for a different and better outcome, and there’s no better place to start than planning for better leadership.
This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Identify which of the three areas needs the most attention and take action this week to begin to close the deficit in that area.
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