How Top Leaders Drive Performance and Profits
By Bob Prosen
Top leaders who consistently achieve results build a culture based on ownership and accountability, and an understanding that people are your most important asset. The following key metrics and guiding principles will help you achieve the attributes of a superior leader and keep your business on track.
1. Make Sure You Have the Right People in the Right Positions
On a regular basis, mentally run through your direct reports and evaluate whether or not their best assets are being properly used in their current positions. Use the following checklist:
• Are results on plan?
• Do you have to follow up to ensure that things get done?
• Are commitments made and met?
• Can you trust each team member with sensitive information?
• Does each person know more about their area of expertise than you do?
• Do people actively request help and proactively offer solutions to solve problems?
• Are you provided real-time information and performance metrics?
2. Develop a Succession Plan You must have a succession plan so you can quickly replace your most important people. Keep it updated, because change is inevitable and often unpredictable. Know how you will operate in the interim between the time someone leaves and the time they are replaced. Have your key people provide a concise plan that outlines how the organization will operate effectively in the event they depart or are gone for an extended period of time.
3. Implement Conversation for Action To know that team members are holding each other accountable, listen. Are team members regularly asking one another for commitments? Are they talking about what actions will be taken to achieve results?
4. Effectively Utilize Rewards and Recognition Ensure that rewards are disproportionate and highly visible. Those who achieve the most get rewarded the most—and everyone should know that. It’s just that simple. Have managers show you their people’s performance and compensation compared to their objectives. Ensure that people at the bottom are either improving their performance or being moved out.
5. Review Your People Report Track vital human capital results on a monthly and year-to-date basis. The report should include the following:
• Total head count compared to budget. Include part-time and contract employees.
• Number of new hires by functional area. Include the hiring department, source, title, compensation, and the reason they joined the company.
• Number of people who left the company. Include the reasons why each person left and whom they worked for. This information has to be obtained from a third party, such as human resources. If you’re losing the wrong people, find the root cause and eliminate it.
6. Make Time to Plan Do you have enough time to plan? A shortfall could mean one or all of the following:
• Are you spending time on too many things that aren’t priorities?
• What types of activities are taking more time than they should?
• Where are you gravitating in the business?
• Is that the best place for you to be spending your time?
• What issues are coming to you that shouldn’t?
Be brutally honest with yourself and make whatever adjustments are required. Be certain to communicate those changes to your team, or they won’t understand why you’re doing things differently.
After you reprioritize, block out time on your schedule for planning and for thinking about the Big Picture and the Next Big Thing as they relate to your business. If you don’t schedule it, you won’t do it.
Bob Prosen is the best selling author of Kiss Theory Good Bye: Five Proven Ways to Get Extraordinary Results in Any Company. His outstanding how-to book has hit #1 on Amazon for best-selling and investment book, and was awarded the USA Book News Best Books 2006 Award for Best Management Book, Silver medalist by the Independent Publishers Association and Foreword Magazine’s Silver award for Book of the Year. http://kisstheorygoodbye.bobprosen.net