In corporations throughout the world, there is a awful lot of talk – We are going to do this, we are going to do that. Sometimes it actually happens. It does so in organizations that are focused on results, have a clear understanding of market conditions, recognize where they can win, where they can establish new markets and where they can create value and growth.
Some organizations have the best of intentions and want to walk the talk, but do they really know how? Are they able to deliver against the talk? Are they able to live up to their customer expectations, especially in the many markets that are impacted by rapidly changing technologies, expanding channels, customer expectations and intense competition? It is tough out there and it is getting tougher.
Think about RIM, the makers of Blackberry. Here is their stock chart for the last 5 years:
Ouch. A bit of an uptick recently but that one hurts. Once the darling of stocks and consumers, now an afterthought. Happened really quickly.
Now let’s take a look at Ebay.
Nice. Vision, focus and outstanding execution. Well done.
Over the course of these disparate journeys, people have been involved every step of the way. Why is one company successful yet the other, once successful, struggles to regain it’s momentum in a market that has changed significantly since their heyday? What will happen to today’s high flyers once the technology shifts yet again and the market needs and demands change?
So many factors and variables involved in walking the talk. But the basic tenets are the right vision, seeing the market clearly, knowing how you are differentiated and superior execution of the plan. Holding your best and brightest accountable but also empowering them to do great things and recognizing value created, not politics, not puckering, no insecure leaders and most importantly no senior managers that waste your time.
Some senior managers tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. Some senior managers probe and question under the umbrella of “I am here to help you” or “I am trying to learn” or “I can help”, when their real intention is to find anything that might need improvement and highlight these 5-10% items over the 90% of great stuff that happens every day. I refer to these senior managers as “Car Wrecks” because they are the ones rubber necking what is wrong, instead of focusing on the positives and building on those. These “Car Wreck” managers delight in finding something wrong and then jumping to rapid, non-fact based decisions that are highly punitive and are totally misaligned to the business. Where instead of using the mistake as a learning experience, they want to expose a mistake through extreme disciplinary action, creating an environment of fear and a lack of willingness to take risk. Can you imagine working in an environment where mistakes are frowned upon because you would never want to get on that managers “Bad” list? Well that will certainly incent risk taking and thinking outside the box, won’t it? Not.
So, do your best to stay away from “Car Wreck” managers. There is only one car they are trying to wreck – yours.