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Gary Tomlinson
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Hurdles to Successful Execution Management #7

Lack of courage and commitment on the part of the senior executive.

Execution management systems are not for the faint of heart. They require a senior leader that understands that he or she is the one person who has the ultimate accountability for the success of the enterprise. First, he or she must be strong enough to make the decision to move forward and, once made, must have the strength to carry through with it.

This begins even before you get started. As a senior leader, it’s usually a terrific idea to empower your team, to involve them as much as you can in the decisions that you make. However, there are some decisions that you can’t make by going to the team and discussing them. The decision to go forward with implementing an execution management system is one of them.

Here’s the reason why. If you run it by your leadership team we can pretty much guarantee there will be one or more of your team members who have an emotional reaction to it. They’ll have just enough insecurity about this amount of visibility and accountability to try to talk you out of it. They’ll say something that sounds logical and intelligent, like, “We do alright.” “We’ve tried these kinds of consulting interventions before and they don’t stick.” “We’ll just focus on it more ourselves.” Or, “Don’t we have enough to do without getting into another initiative that is supposed to improve performance but only makes it worse because it is one more thing to do? I don’t know about anybody else, but I, for one, don’t have the time for this.”

The reality is that they are being driven by one or more of the other six hurdles. If you are aware that you’re going to disturb the sleeping dragon, the status quo, and that there are some decisions you will need to make that you do not “run by your team” first, you will have the courage and the commitment to make the decision to move forward and then figure out how to get your team on board.

This education comes from an article co-written by Miles Kierson and Gary Tomlinson.
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Art of Telling – Ineffective Traits to Avoid

The question of effective traits of speakers is one I ask the audience during every one of my Art of Telling presentations. I also ask them to think of someone they’ve heard speak that they didn’t really enjoy listening to. Then I ask them to tell me the traits the speaker exhibited that they didn’t like or care for. Over the years I’ve heard thousands of responses to this question. What’s amazing is their answers are always the same. Here’s what they tell me:

• They ramble; they’re not well-organized.

• They’re uninformed on their topic.

• They lack preparation.

• They speak in monotone; they don’t use their voices well.

• They show no energy or passion.

• They use too many “fillers” (non-words).

• They exhibit poor eye contact.

• They pace or wander of fidget.

• They use profanity or questionable humor.

• They are poor storytellers.

The next time you’re getting ready to make a presentation, whether to an audience of 1, 5 or 500 hundred, think about these ineffective traits that listeners don’t like to see or hear. Make sure to avoid those traits. Be well prepared. Have a passion for your message. Make good eye contact. Never use questionable humor or profanity. Connect with your listener. And remember that presentations should be built on the listener’s future rather than the presenter’s past. “Don’t tell me about your grass seed, tell me about my lawn.”
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After years of consulting to senior executives and upper level managers on execution management systems, we have concluded...there is extraordinary resistance from individuals and organizations to addressing and getting better at execution. Is your organization one of those?
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Don’t Confuse Compliance with Commitment

Most leaders confuse compliance with commitment – that’s right, most. Compounding this confusion is the fact that leadership doesn’t even realize it. That’s because most leaders assume that commitment is never a problem, largely because most leaders assume everyone is equally committed.

“Generating commitment requires great courage. Generating commitment is possible for any leadership team willing to follow some simple rules. The first rule is the toughest: brutal honesty. The top team must confront the need for commitment and the current lack thereof. Managers don’t want to admit that they are leading a unit with less than total commitment. Yet only when leaders are willing to “own” the current state of affairs and admit to themselves that they have caused the current levels of apathy, resistance or resignation, can they begin to address and improve the situation.”

“That’s because you cannot 'fix' lack of commitment without addressing the cause, and the cause is almost always leadership’s failure to appreciate the priority of commitment. The first step in gaining and/or improving commitment is for leaders to admit to their accountability for the current lack of commitment. If leadership doesn’t look into the mirror, nothing will change about the image.”

“The greatest single factor in behavior change in organizations is the avatar – that person to whom others look for examples of action. It doesn’t matter what kind of organization it is. Within any organization, people don’t believe what they read or what they hear. They only believe what they see. But if they see leaders who strive to build commitment, then they will do the same. It’s that tough. It’s that courageous. And it’s that simple.”

The wisdom in this blog entry comes from the book The Power of Strategic Commitment by Leibner, Mader and Weiss. Click here to see Gary’s book report and then go out and buy their book: http://www.gary-tomlinson.com/theexecutiveedge/dont-confuse-compliance-with-commitment/

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