Potent Management That Grows Companies and Propels Profits
Healthy bottom lines that continue to grow are not an accident or some mystical combination of timing and luck; they are the result of Simply Effective Leadership (SEL).
The difference between well-led companies and their competitors can easily be seen in the results:
- The consistency and profitability of Southwest Airlines versus the rise and fall of Independence Air.
- The staying power of Google, even as the market has bulged with increasing competition, compared with AOL.
- The ability to rebound exhibited by Starbucks after a financial free-fall in 2008 instead of the downward spiral of Circuit City that eventually spun to their demise.
While supply and demand, quality of products or services, and the competitive landscape all come into play, it’s the effectiveness of an organization’s leaders that is the ultimate determining factor for growth and profitability.
Three behaviors, consistently executed, are the hallmarks of the Simply Effective leader. The difference between these individuals and those just getting by is the development and utilization of these traits regardless of market conditions. Companies led in this manner “SEL” a culture that workers clamor to buy into and, in turn, the workers sell more to their customer base as a result of their belief in the organization and their consistent behaviors on a day-to-day basis.
THE THREE ATTRIBUTES OF SEL
- Simply Effective Leaders Set Clear and Reasonable Expectations
The navigator of a plane or ship has the critical job of charting a specific and detailed course that will safely get the passengers to the destination. Leaders who manage simply and effectively chart this type of course for their team, as well. They develop a clear plan that addresses why an initiative is important, what needs to happen and by when, who is required to take this action, and where and when progress will be measured and reported.Last year, one of my new consulting clients in the Midwest doubled their revenues in just under nine months, outpacing almost all of their competitors in the process. Douglas, one of the senior executives, attributes this to what had been lacking, clear and reasonable expectations. “Growth is so simple when you have crystal-clear requirements of you team,” commented Douglas. “I just wish we had laid those out years ago.”
- Simply Effective Leaders Succinctly Communicate What’s Expected
After crafting clear and reasonable expectations communication is often mishandled as it’s treated like an event versus an ongoing process. Human follow-through and implementation are far from perfect and the overwhelm often felt on the job triggers the built-in forgetters of many workers. Regularly communicating and reiterating expectations, while it may feel parental to some, is necessary to keep the desired focus and attention top-of-mind. Just as important, this advising of staff must take a variety of formats, including aural, visual, and tactile, to address their various learning and work styles.“Each week,” said Douglas, “our team utilizes brief meetings, flash reports, e-mail exchanges, dialogues, and even practice sessions to accentuate our focus on our clear and reasonable expectations. Without those, all of us, including me, would become distracted by all of the inputs that come at us each day.”
- Simply Effective Leaders Unwaveringly Hold Everyone Accountable
Lastly, and most importantly, leaders must completely and unapologetically hold each and every person accountable to the expectations. Yet, this is the one trait, in particular, missing in companies of all sizes.Curtis, an executive from a Fortune 500 firm, recently confided, “The reason our top competitor eats our lunch each day is their commitment to accountability. I should know, I worked there. What’s sad is our products are much more highly rated. Once we achieve consistently with SEL, I know we’ll be much more competitive and grab more of their market share.”
To develop nonstop growth and perpetual profits, you must fearlessly and honestly assess which of these traits is missing or needs improvement in your management team, and even more importantly, in you. Once identified, you can immediately begin to practice SEL by applying it to a new leadership enhancement project:
- Set clear and reasonable expectations as to the which of the three aspects of SEL will become the first area for improvement.
- Succinctly communicate why this is expected, what needs to happen, who is responsible, and when this must be accomplished.
- Hold everyone, especially yourself, accountable to crafting and executing a plan for how the expectations will be met on or before the deadline. Then, hold everyone to the plan.
If you’ve been wanting greater buy-in at levels of your company, SEL is the best solution to sell everyone on a system that is simple, clear, and effective. What’s required of you now is to take the first action — choose an initiative and apply the three step process. What could be more simple than that!