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What Really Matters…for Executive Leadership

Presented by: Joe Ellers, Owner, Palmetto Associates

Today, there are many issues facing business leaders.  Outside factors such as disease and societal issues are now on the desks of owners, presidents, and managers.  While these are issues that must be addressed, leadership cannot lose sight of their primary objective which goes beyond short-term survival into long-term financial health.

One of the key questions an executive must ponder is:  What should I be working on?  What should realistically be at the top of the pile on my desk (or computer-generated “To Do” list?)  Over the years, successful executives have boiled this list down to a handful of topics.  These topics do not constitute “all” of what is important—and they should not consume all of a leader’s time, but they should always be top of mind and all should be addressed over the course of the year.

In this session, we are going to take a deep dive into the topics listed below:

Strategy: Does your organization have a coherent strategy that not only advances the organization toward a clear future but also drives the right daily actions?

Goals: Are goals in place that support the strategy and also are tied to the right actions?

Metrics: Does your organization measure the right things? 

Structure: Many organizations have structures that simply do not support the strategy.  Only senior leadership has the vision and ability to make structural changes.

People: Based on the future you want, does your organization have enough of the right people with right skill-sets to accomplish the strategy?  The definition of getting the “right” people on the bus varies wildly, based on the strategy you are deploying.

Reward systems: Again, only senior managers have the breadth of understanding to ensure that the variable compensation actually supports what you want them to accomplish.  Simple plans are not always the best, if they do not reward the right things.

Policies, processes and procedures:  One of the key sticking points for a lot of organizations—as they try to grow—are that their actions are not repeatable processes—but “one-offs.”  As the organization grows, more guardrails are required because management is just not as aware of the daily activities as they were when the organization was smaller.

Resources:  Here, again, only senior management has the breadth of vision to see the big picture:  Have we provided the team with the resources they need to execute the strategy?

The last two go together:  Culture and Consistency.  As the leader, you have (at least) one additional title:  Chief Culture Officer.  What are you doing to instill this within your organization?  Further, are your messages consistent?  Or is the organization whipped around constantly with your team trying to guess where they might be heading next?

The goal of this program is to provide some insight into what you can do to make these areas into strengths.  Further, as you are working on these, you will also be providing a strong foundation for not only future strategic planning events but also the annual business planning---which should always serve to drive the strategy of your organization.

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