As we move into 2013, it’s time to take a hard look at our organizations and how we can improve our leadership. Here are the top five New Year’s resolutions that CEOs and key managers should implement to make dramatic changes that will yield positive results:
1. Get rid of B and C players. Ineffective players are only holding you back, collecting a paycheck while nominally contributing. In todays’ competitive market, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t surround yourself with A players. If you think it may be too costly to staff with top-notch people, keep in mind that most A players can do the work of three C players. A solid team of A players will take your company to new levels, reducing your workload in the process.
2. Reorganize your company. Take a good look at how your company is organized. Look at reporting structures, hierarchy, and how practices and functions are grouped. Many CEOs leave the existing structure and reporting scheme in place long after it’s outdated. Strive for efficiency and smart workflow. If you have more than five direct reports, analyze how you can decrease that number by combining functional areas under your key staff.
3. Start delegating. Too often, CEOs do other people’s work for them. We use every excuse in the world to justify this: “I can do it better, faster, etc.” “I need it now.” “My VP of operations is already overloaded, so I have to pick up the additional work.” “This is my area of expertise.” And so on…You aren’t developing your subordinates if you keep doing their work for them. And, of course, we complain that we don’t have enough time to do the things we absolutely need to do. Whenever you are doing a task, ask yourself this question: “Whose job am I doing now?” If the answer isn’t “My job,” then you need to delegate it to the correct person who should be doing it.
4. Fix the culture. As you move into a new year, it’s time to take a hard look at your corporate culture. Ask yourself if the organization’s culture supports its mission and values. Too often, we have developed a culture over the years that no longer fits our current organization or mission. Keep in mind that culture starts at the top, so you have to set the expectations and demonstrate the values and behaviors you want everyone else to emulate.
5. Stop doing things that don’t work. Every organization institutionalizes policies, procedures, workflows, programs, and sales techniques that no longer work (if they ever did). We keep doing the same things over and over again, and can’t figure out why we aren’t getting the outcomes we need. Every CEO, every manager, and every staff person should review their initiatives, tasks, policies, etc., and ask the tough question: “Are these achieving the results we want?” If something doesn’t work, stop doing it. If a policy is outdated and doesn’t make sense in today’s environment, change it. It’s that simple. You need to free up bandwidth, and you can’t do that if you spend all your time doing things that aren’t working for you. Get everyone into the mindset of consistently evaluating whether their efforts are getting results.
If you can do these five things to some level of success, you will see a dramatic shift in your organization and your own ability to lead that organization.