CONSTANTIN MAGDALINA

  |  23.02.2017

What leaders do not learn in school

No business objective will be achieved unless the desired parameters are related to the dreams, wishes and personal aspirations of employees.

1. Strategies that do not account for people

 

No business objective will be achieved unless the desired parameters are related to the dreams, wishes and personal aspirations of employees. Why? Because it is set to achieve a target that has no connection with employees, but most of the time with the KPI’s agenda of the management.

 

That is why, although for a strategy to succeed there are allocated tens and hundreds of man hours, the failure rate is between 50-90% according to the business recordings. What should one do?

 

For a strategy to have a better chances of success, leaders should rely on two sets of correlated behaviors: engaging their colleagues and executing the strategy. When it comes to strategy execution, things can be pretty geometricly resolved by activities, projects and portfoliosmanagement, the real challenge arises when undertaking to build employees engagement, an endeavor much harder to systematize.

 

It is difficult to make all the people get absorbed in their work and to align them emotionally to the goals and values of the organization. It seems that in both cases companies are not sufficiently prepared. According to the 17th Annual Global CEO Survey conducted by PWC up to 50% of organizations are not prepared to put the strategy into execution. If so are things with the execution, in the case of employee engagement rates are much lower, only 30%, according to the Employee engagement insights for business leaders2015 by Gallup. The question is whether leaders of the companies can engage the employees and execute the strategy at the same time?

 

2. Behaviors and emotions that can lead to success

 

By engagement of employees is meant: creating shared purpose, inspires team cohesion, provides ongoing feedback and appropriate guidance to team members, uses compeling language and tone to stimulate other’s thinking and actions, builds momentum and a sense of urgency toward desired results, convinces others to commit to vision and set of values.

 

By execution is meant the following subset of skills: determines next stept required to implement an initiative,ensures that those responsible for implementing the initiative have role clarity and accountability, aligns systems and process to support implementation of strategies, measures progress and evaluates results, reprioritizing as appropriate, generates options for actions and address issues and opportunities.

 

Given the two sets of associated behaviors above, Development Dimensions International has conducted a comparative assessment of behaviors that facilitate engagement and execution of leaders. The results are as follows:

 

* 65% of leaders were able to execute strategy at the highest level, only 2 out of 10 are higher in engagement and only 17% have them both in a balanced way at the board members level

 

* 46% were able to execute the strategy at the highest level, 2.3 out of 10 are higher in engagement and only 31% have them both in a balanced way at strategic management level

 

* 21% were able to execute the strategy at the highest level, 3 out of 10 are higher in engagement and 48% have them both in a balanced way at middle-management level

 

Consequently, the higher up in the hierarchy, leaders practice their executive powers and lose their ability to engage their colleagues. The converse is also true, the lower in the management hierarchy, the higher are their powers to engage colleagues and fewer their executive powers. It's counterintuitive, it might say that people who should execute engage better the employees and vice versa, those who should be good at involving employees, execute.

 

3. About the swaping places between leadership and management roles

 

Most likely this roles swaping is one of the major causes of the high rate of 50-90% failure to implement the strategy. But the situation is complicated even more when at the company level are carried out internal researches on the employees’ level of involvement. The reports of such researches are handed over to the top managers who, without professional guidance, do not know what to do with them. They either adopt some good initiatives, but isolated ones, as working from home, or they often resort to the technique of throwing the toy (massages, make-up ladies, ice cream) to the "children" you want to behave nicely. Due to the lack of consistency and authenticity between all these activities, the results fail to appear. Finally, the problem is quickly discarded, and the manager concludes to abandon any effort or engagement of employees saying 'I tried, but it does not help. "

 

Why the strategies fail to be implemented? Well, because they are emotionally disconnected to the dreams, wishes and personal aspirations of employees. Because they address the intellect and the head while the action is done by hands which are linked to emotions through the heart. The secret is that action, heart and head should be aligned to the strategy, if the management aims for the expected results. As Donald Calne said "emotions lead to action while reason to conclusions."

 

4. Take aways:

 

* Consider including among the KPIs for promotion,one on to assess the ability to engage people

 

* Consider a set of KPIs for managers with reference to their contribution to an increased engagement and keeping them accountable for meeting those KPIs

 

* Use collaborative platforms for internal communication and consultation of employees in connection with programs for building/ strengthening the engagement

 

* Create a calendar of meetings between top management and people in the organization, such as: the CEO mornings, evenings mentorship with top executives of the company

 

* Collect input from employees regarding the opportunities to improve processes, customer relations and other market opportunities in order to generate motivation and attachment to the company

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