That people thing

Someone asked, “Why are senior executives and partners so resistant to developing people?”

Answer:  Over confidence in their industry knowledge

Here are examples a few leaders have given me as justification for not having a defined development plan for their people:

Finance executive:  “I’ve been in this business 30 years and I can spot the people who will succeed”

Construction executive:  “We know how to build things; it’s what we do”

Audit partner:  “We wait and see who naturally excels in our business; the cream always rises to the top”

What do these justifications for not developing people have in common (other than utterly missing the point)? They’ve all assumed that because they know their business and have succeeded personally, that they will recognize top talent when they see it.  The risk, of course, is the talent not showing up in time.

I wonder if they take this “sure hope things work out” approach to business strategy and operations?

Just a reminder for those of you at the top of your organizations…your primary responsibility is preparing the leadership of the future.


Clued In

Intentions can skew our perception of reality.  How we intend to lead and how we actually lead can be like night and day.  Then, of course, there’s the whole issue of other’s perception of us.

I have found that people’s perception of their leader is often closer to reality than the leaders personal intentions.

The people you lead are not concerned, necessarily, with your intentions.  They have to deal with your actual behavior.

Get clued in.  Have an objective third-party executive coach interview your colleagues and the professionals who work for you.  If you’re lucky, you’ll learn a few clues on how to increase your effectiveness.


Connected, but not connecting

You may be able to transfer information and give directives by phone, email and webcasts, but connecting with your professionals requires face-to-face interaction.

A national leader detailed for me all the personal one-on-one calls, group conference calls, email and webcasts where he communicated with his regional and local leaders; however, they described him as absent and not accessible.  His efforts to communicate, no matter how sincere, were not effective.

Today’s communication technology is creating distance between leaders and professionals.

Create opportunities to interact with your team, listen to their concerns and give them a chance to connect with you.  Then, you will attract followers.