85-90% of business leaders can’t execute. That’s according to North American Top 100 thought leader John Spence who was recently in Edmonton and spoke to close to 1000 business leaders at various marquee conferences and seminars. Even more alarming? He doesn’t see this chronic problem improving. In fact, he thinks it’s getting worse.
Spence, with his entertainingly blunt style, was the catalyst for business leaders to critically analyze their own organizations, seek out patterns of poor performance, and create clear actions for improvement.
Spence was adamant that if companies want to vastly improve accountability and execution they must do the following:
- Create a compelling vision that elicits massive buy-in from senior leaders
- Build a culture that top talent is clamouring to join and build a career
- Establish deep relationships with customers
- Form a network of high performers you can ask for help
- Abolish Ambiguity
Vivid Vision and Massive Buy-In
World class companies aren’t built by accident and a precursor to becoming a great company is an absolutely compelling case to do so. The compelling case, or vision, must be led by the senior leaders and will only have a chance to succeed if all of the leaders in the company are massively bought in and committed to making it happen. The vision must be so compelling that employees are inspired to change their behaviours for the better. If they aren’t compelled to get on board, dealing with them swiftly is a must.
Build a Culture Your Competitors Can’t Touch
The workplace is changing fast and high performing employees don’t live in fear of having a job. Talented people can quit their jobs and have another one by lunch. That’s the reality.
In this new reality employers must create an environment to keep them. In John’s research, he has determined that top talent want the following at work: Fun, Family, Friends, Fair, Freedom, Pride, Praise, Meaning and Results.
Deep Customer Relationships
In John’s words companies that “own the voice of the customer will own the market share.” This means companies must intimately understand their customers’ hopes, wants, needs and desires or be faced with forever playing the losing game of competing on price and, ultimately, going bankrupt. Asking customers why they do business with you, what frustrates them about you, what you need to do more of to secure all their business, and what would have to go wrong entirely to lose their business are some of the questions that companies with high customer intimacy are regularly asking their customers. The ability to then create strategies for following through on the answers to those questions becomes key.
Ask Really Smart People For Help
In all of his travels, the one thing that Spence sees as being the hardest thing for people to do is ask for help. Of the most successful people that Spence interacts with he sees a common trait that they all do an incredible job building and leveraging an expansive network of people. Often times, the answers are out there but people continue to struggle for answers when it normally lies within a group of people we already know.
In his worldly travels Spence interacts with thousands of brilliant business people every year and yet business excellence continues to elude many. Spence estimates that a mere 10-15% of companies accomplish their plans and that number is declining. The reason? Substandard levels of accountability and execution.
Ambiguity breeds mediocrity and as long as companies leave their employees in the dark, providing little clarity for the things that must get done, this will continue to be the case. If your people aren’t crystal clear about how their performance is being measured you will never be able to hold them accountable.
The good news for all you conflict avoiders out there, your top talent is craving accountability. So get on it!
Thank You John!
In the many dealings Results Canada has had with John Spence it has become clear that he is gifted at analyzing complex business challenges and providing simple, yet powerful, solutions to those challenges. But it’s his genuine desire to help others and to make a difference that has been a key driver in his growing following and ascent up the ladder of globally recognized thought leaders.
For these gifts, we thank you John. The business community looks forward to the next opportunity to spend time with you.
Article by Jeff Tetz