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What Is the Toughest Challenge a Leader Faces Today?


What Is the Toughest Challenge a Leader Faces Today?

If the leader of an organization can’t successfully execute, it will languish and eventually die.

It really doesn’t matter how intellectually brilliant their strategy is, or how cleverly the composed plan integrates the toolset advocated by the pundits,  if it can’t be implemented it’s worth nothing.

Leaders can’t assume that execution will happen by declaring the new direction to the organization and expecting that people will know what to do, they they will want to do it and that they will do it.

WHAT TO DO – the strategy needs to be translated right down to the individualwho requires an intimate understanding of what actions they need to take to execute on the organization’s chosen path. 

It’s one thing to shout out the intent to “unleash the power of the internet” to marketing, for example, but without providing the product, customer segment and application focus, marketers won’t know what specific programs to develop to make it happen. 

And furthermore, if clarity around what marketing should stop doing is not provided, the move forward will be dysfunctional, inefficient and unproductive. Hanging on to the past while at the same time trying to take on a new future is an impossible role for anyone to assume.

WANT TO DO – the leader must provide the motivation for employees to want to adopt the new course. Rather than tell everyone “this is where we’re going”, the leader must sell their decision if they want people to be personally invested in supporting it. Employees must see the new future as exciting and cool in a way that gets them emotionally hooked on the idea. 

They need to be more than intellectually convinced; they need to be emotionally “all in” because that is where they raw energy comes from to willingly take the action needed to move forward.

Related: If You’re in the Herd, This Is the Only Way Out

WILL DO – the leader must be the strategy hawk that takes personal responsibility to see that results are delivered through their teams in the organization. This is all about monthly measuring key performance indicators, taking immediate action to close any gaps and celebrating any successes where target have been exceeded.

This is the time to recognize the achievements of the heroes who have gone above and beyond expectations to deliver results.

It is Interesting that a leader is expected to have an academic pedigree that can be paraded around to shareholders and public with the implied message that these credentials will take the organization to lofty heights. That “knowing stuff” will drive superlative performance.

This is simply not the case.

Organizations perform well when they execute well in an environment where randomness, unpredictability and chaos govern the agenda and where nothing turns out according to plan.

It’s about time we started describing the brilliant leaders of the day in terms of their execution credentials and the power they have demonstrated to harness the hearts and souls of individuals to drive forward in uncharted waters.

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