Leaders in Action – Contribution, Impact, and Efficiency
Knowing how to manage time effectively is probably the most important trait of a leader. Focusing on contribution, impact and efficiency are a leader's primary goals. Yet, success is not a one-man-show: a synergy of communication, teamwork, self-development, and development of others are essential markers for productive organizations.
Success happens to companies with the executive ability to "concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results," as well defined by Peter Drucker in the inspiring "The Effective Executive" book. This means that management teams must be vigilant and proactively analyze the future, focusing on the opportunity rather than the problem, continuously delivering value, building on company strengths, and setting the pace to differentiate from the competition.
Spending time identifying a company's value and having vigorous debate on scenarios to execute the best plan to bring to market solutions that solve critical needs are managements' most important agenda:
- How do we turn knowledge into value and decisions?
- Why is it so important to turn decisions into right actions and behavior?
- How can effectiveness be translated into outstanding results?
Choose value by making effective decisions
When debating over roadmap priorities and innovation pipelines, it is key to be able to differentiate a generic situation from exceptions. Assumptions are important, validating them even more so. No one wants to develop products for an exceptional/extreme customer, but rather aim for greater scale through a broader customer reach.
Defining management decision's output requires clear specifications, for example, minimum goals, boundaries, and a clear understanding of what's right versus what is acceptable.
For example, executive management may decide to:
- Concentrate on value performance for the business-partner ecosystem
- Diversification of the business portfolio
- Optimization of the customer journey (e.g., access, end-to-end experience)
- Operational efficiency and productivity
- Partnerships (e.g., growth in scale, increase in number, strategic interactions)
Drilling down into details cross-department is key to evaluate feasibility (cost, quality, timing). Validating with stakeholders is key to measure utilization and purchase intent, both being critical for estimating growth and scale.
Deliver value by converting decisions into actions
Once the management decision is clear, and the detailed scope is validated, two best practices are important to follow through. First, management should be looking to gain continuous feedback from the field, both to optimize and nurture adoption, and to manage internal bias. Second, the team should invest in continuous testing against other solutions in the market. Only this way can companies guarantee the superior performance of their business portfolio.
Different organizations chose different strategies at different points in time, based on maturity of their products and market. Whether it's enabling cloud-based systems at scale to become agile and efficient, software offerings to monetize directly, or digital offerings that feature advanced analytics or AI; or by adding technologies to enhance existing offerings or building exclusive technology partnerships to access capabilities or integrated offerings, actionable decisions endure when field work is properly done. Having a business process to ensure these steps are ongoing is key for leadership control of plans and fast decision-making to optimize/iterate/pivot or abandon when required.
Communicate value and go-to-market
Market education is expensive, laborious, and takes a long time, whether these be via foot on the ground, digital marketplaces, or online sales and customer services. Business and marketing leaders normally follow a 2-steps methodology. First, a careful review that the product-line and features meet the promise to customers and lay out the benefits and economics. Second, identify and test the messaging to see which one resonates most with customers, before creating the so-called marketing/sales kits.
In the process of communicating value, it is crucial to understand how stakeholders consume and process information. Each stakeholder holds a specific agenda in respect of contribution, impact, and efficiency. Working with a board of advisers and KOLs along the way to socialize road maps and messaging can play a huge role in product adoption and recurring purchases.
Making a difference
"Leadership is an action, not a position." The most effective leaders build bridges between knowledge and decisions, and between decisions and actions, and they act quickly when new action-plans are required. Leaders understand the need to measure action versus non-action to grow a company, differentiate it, and avoid placing it at risk. They generate trust because of their willingness to act. They are not limited by fear or by making a mistake. They are focused on priorities, managing business processes, and educating the market. They are passionate about pursuing dreams and challenging the status quo. Most of them enjoy high-level relationship-building skills, based on trust, respect, and self-awareness. They cultivate comfortable settings that enhance the confidence of peers to express opinions, brainstorm, and embrace new ideas.
When people around them see the successes of working together, overall engagement and productivity climbs. And this is the foundation for an organization to focus on opportunities, to embrace change, create, and innovate. Effective leaders are women and men out there, bringing outstanding results together with their team. True heroes: genuine, confident, humble, trustworthy, positive, and fun!
Patty Block, President and Founder of The Block Group, established her company to advocate for women-owned businesses, helping them position their companies for strategic growth. From improving cash flow…. to increasing staff productivity…. to scaling for growth, these periods of transition — and so many more — provide both challenges and opportunities. Managed effectively, change can become a productive force for growth. The Block Group harnesses that potential, turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses.