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The High Cost of Not Taking Action….

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In times of great challenges or change of any kind, it is easy to hunker down, withdraw and attempt to white knuckle it.
“Our run rate doesn’t allow any investments at this time.” 
“Our revenues can barely service our debt so we have to wait until more debt is retired before we can make investments.”
“We have to fill 1-2 more key positions and then our team will be ready to take on new strategic initiatives.”
Yes…all these excuses, justifications and rationales make sense if you want to continue to do what you have always done.
However, if you are ready for transformational growth, ready to use new and different approaches, ready to shake folks out of their comfort zone then let’s talk.
The only sustainable approach to transformational growth is by building alignment at all levels.  If you delay making the investment to shake things up, you delay the growth potential.
In order to build the degree of alignment that will establish a solid platform for growth, we must be willing to get out of our own comfort zone, create environments for our colleagues to feel safe getting out of their comfort zones and be open to using new and different approaches, regardless of the risk.  High risk equates to high rewards.
Until we get everyone focused on our top 3 strategic growth priorities, communicate this clear focus in a way that engages every employee, contractor, supplier and vendor and get the right people in the right roles, we will never be ready because we will never have a solid foundation for transformational growth.
As Walt Disney said so eloquently, “The only way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Don’t wait another day to start to build the foundation you need so you can achieve the profitable, sustainable growth you deserve.
The Halpin Companies have been facilitating mergers, acquisitions and management/leadership transitions since 1995.  Our clients experience transformational growth that results in greater shareholder value.  For a complimentary, confidential consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at [email protected] or 602-266-1961.

Harness the Power!

The CFO is often the first to recognize the high cost of chaos. It does not appear as a line item in the financial statements. But, a CFO recognizes the warning signs. Performance, productivity, and profit fall below expectations. Rick McPartlin, co-founder and CEO of The Revenue Game, believes the cost of chaos runs as high as 30 percent of gross revenue in many organizations.  That means that if you are a $50 million company, you are wasting $15 million year after year.

Chaos means confusion: both individual confusion about what we are trying to accomplish, and team-wide disasters when people are confused about how we will accomplish it.

A CFO brought me into an organization where chaos reigned. The shareholders were happy with the return on their investments because revenue grew year over year. The company enjoyed a steady supply of new customers. By all appearances this was a very successful company.

However, the CFO was able to detect those early indicators that are always present but rarely captured. He saw that their method of driving new customer growth was unsustainable. He saw that the leadership was aging-out without new leaders being developed from within. He saw that, while they were successful, the chaos, the pace and intensity for this level of success was also not sustainable. He worried that key leaders would burnout or die before building a more sustainable business model. Their success was coming at a very high cost and he knew this model was unsustainable.

The Halpin Companies team started working with this leadership team to gather information and identify alternative approaches.

Fairly quickly, using our methods, we identified a potential future CEO from within the ranks. At first, the current leadership team was disdainful of our recommendation but this candidate did emerge over time as the key player with the greatest leadership capacity. He currently serves successfully in that CEO role.

More importantly, we were able to work with the two top layers of leaders and, based on our recommendations, build a more inclusive and transparent approach to driving new customer relationships.

Through mentoring by the senior leaders and using this more inclusive approach the former #1 sales person was able to build a dozen sales executives with his same level of success.

Using our processes he was first able to articulate his values – he cared deeply about their customers. He then started to articulate his sales approach – he was an extraordinary listener. We then helped him document and communicate his organic sales approach in meaningful and easy to understand ways. Over time, in one-on-one mentoring sessions, he trained each of his key people to replicate his success.

Not everyone had the same capacity but 14 or his 22 colleagues were able to step up. As a result the company grew by 300% in a few short years because of this velocity.

The CFO was thrilled, the shareholders were thrilled and more importantly, this construction-related company was able to sustain the economic downturn and continues to thrive today.

Six of the other colleagues self-selected out of this company with their dignity intact. Why did the go away? They saw that they could not be successful in the new business model. Two other leaders came to the leadership team and asked to take a step sideways or even backwards. They knew intuitively that they could not be successful in the new business model, given their own strengths.

When you harness the power you already have within your organization, the results will be extraordinary. Often our clients experience growth in shareholder value in amounts that were never imagined or forecasted. Building alignment, inclusiveness, and transparency drive success.

 

The Halpin Companies has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes and levels of complexity since 1995. Our proven methods create work environments and corporate cultures where shareholder value grows consistently. Learn more about our methods at www.HalpinCompany.com

For a complimentary consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at 602-266-1961 or [email protected]

 

 

 

 

Greatest Source of Stress? Un-negotiated Expectations. How to fix!

Alignment for Success – a 5-Part Book Review

I wrote my book, Alignment for Success; Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, Your Teams and Your Company in an effort to spread the word about my unique methodology for being a Strategic Leader.

 

I am thrilled with the response and feedback to this important book.  Jerre Stead, Chair and CEO of IHS, Inc. (who has served as CEO of 7 publicly held companies over his career) gives the book as a gift and tells people “this is what I believe”.

 

Jason Pistillo, President of the University of Advancing Technology, asked me to bring my book into their advanced curriculum because, as he stated, “we want to use the most contemporary thinking about leadership.”

 

And just recently Abbie S. Fink launched a 5-part Book Review.  Abbie is a leader in the business community in Phoenix and frequently reviews books for their blog at HMA Public Relations.

 

I’m so pleased to share Part 1 of her Book Review with each of you here:

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-1-alignment/

 

Here’s Part 2 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-2-driving-force/

 

Here’s Part 3 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-3-make-meeting-time/

 

 

Here’s Part 4 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-4-attitude-gratitude/

 

Here’s Part 5 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-5-creating-culture-high-performance/

 

 

Thanks so much Abbie for this extraordinary contribution to making work work for everyone!

Culture versus Strategy – Faun deHenry’s Perspective

Culture versus Strategy

Is it really an “either or” situation? Is corporate culture more important than strategy? Or is it the opposite?

Numerous people have written blogs and articles about this topic over the recent months, including me. “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” was the title of my presentation at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in October 2011, as well as a webinar topic for my employer in January 2012.

However, Peter Drucker originally made this statement and discussed organizational culture’s ability to impact strategy in the context of discouraging leaders and managers from making radical changes to their corporate culture or implementing strategies that were inconsistent with their existing culture.

Jack Welch said after his experience with GE’s acquisition of Kidder Peabody, “Culture matters!”

In 2003 a group of researchers at Harvard Business School completed a ten year study examining management practices at 160 organizations. They found that culture can enhance or prove detrimental to corporate performance. Organizations with strong performance-oriented cultures witnessed far better financials growth.

We know that strategy matters as well. Companies with good strategies prosper. Those without good strategies perform poorly or, at worst, close their doors.

Bob Frisch in his article “Culture Vs. Strategy is a False Choice” mentions several companies with winning strategies and corporate cultures — Southwest Airlines and Zappos. He also includes companies that are known as strong performers without superior corporate cultures — McDonald’s and Walmart.

However, what about having a strong corporate culture as part of your business strategy? During a recent Twitter conversation Fred Cuellar (@fredcuellar) suggested this to me in one of his tweets. “My money is on culture as a strategy! Environment regulates behavior!”

Leslie Bradshaw, President, COO, and Co-founder for JESS3 said it best in her video for 30 Second MBA as she describes the importance of culture for her organization.

“…[C]ulture is actually the fiber that brings us all together so that we can execute against the strategy once we have it.”

Fred and Leslie are on the right track and it’s similar to an approach that was used by Ken Olsen in building DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation). The company’s strong innovation culture helped propel it to stellar heights during the 60’s, 70’s, and part of the 80’s.

It was also the same culture that, when the technology arena changed, prevented the organization from adopting a successful strategy that would allow it to compete effectively in the new technology marketplace.

DEC’s strong corporate culture “ate” every new idea, proposal, and strategy that didn’t fit its existing paradigm. The result: DEC went into a downward spiral and was acquired by Compaq, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard.

The relationship between corporate culture and strategy goes further and deeper than most corporate leaders imagine. Not only that, but in volatile markets, the connectedness between these two can be fraught with complications.

If your organization is an incumbent in an industry that has a disruptive newcomer, adaptability becomes paramount. Yet, strong corporate cultures are typically less adaptable. To use Edgar Schein’s analogy, strong corporate cultures possess antibodies that protect them from “foreign” ideas or proposals.  Therefore, it is critical that leaders heed Drucker’s warning and remember the lesson of DEC as they attempt to change a corporate culture so that it can function harmoniously with a new strategy.

Culture and strategy must fit and work together to move an organization’s performance forward.  Without harmony between culture and strategy, the organization suffers and, eventually, dies.

Execution is Not Easy! If it was, everyone would be doing it…even the US Air Force

How can really bright people screw up to the tune of $1 billion?

Our colleagues in the US Air Force were successful in just that.

They selected a software vendor in 2006 to “configure, deploy and conduct training and change management activities” related to a $628 million contract for an off-the-shelf enterprise-wide software system.  Randall Stross, a Silicon Valley author and professor at San Jose State University, captures the details in Sunday’s New York Times.  He quotes an Air Force executive,  laying the groundwork for this debacle by 2010, “We’ve never tried to change all the processes, tools and languages of all 250,000 people in our business at once, and that’s essentially what we are about to do.”

Mr. Stross attributes the failure to endless meetings, complex bureaucratic requirements and the constant need to fight wars.  My assessment of the situation is much simpler.

My experience working with leadership teams for over 30 years tells me that the team’s Vision and planning process was flawed.

This is what happens when the collective attitudes and beliefs are not addressed as part of the vision process.  This is what happens when the vision cannot be articulated or is not embraced by every member of the team.  These are the obstacles to almost every planning process.  When the planning process is flawed, no amount of expertise in execution can bring an initiative to a productive close.

If you would like to align your team around a vision for a $1 billion initiative or something smaller in scope for 2013, get our free report at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

Here’s the full article in the Sunday business section of the  New York Times: http://nyti.ms/YOI6CF  It’s worth a read.

Get the Right People in the Right Roles Can be Messy!

How do we get the right people in the right roles?

In addition to gaining a full understanding of people’s strengths, we need to have clarity about each other’s vulnerabilities.  I believe our vulnerabilities, or growth opportunities, fall into several categories:

* Risks when we simply get the volume turned up too high on our strengths

* Unmet needs that can unconsciously drive us to make poor choices and decisions that have negative consequences, and of course,

* our egos.

How do we then get the right people in the right roles doing the right work using the right strengths and managing their growth opportunities or vulnerabilities?

First, you need to know the strengths of your people.  We use a proprietary tool developed by Lynn Taylor of Taylor Protocols to identify strengths and vulnerabilities of individuals.  This affirming profile helps people see themselves in a new light.  More importantly, it helps the rest of the team and their manager have a much more realistic perspective on the individual.

Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach U and one of the founders of the profession of coaching, articulated that we all have needs.  When these needs are left to fester they can become significant obstacles to effectiveness.  For almost 20-years I had a need to ‘get credit’.  That need drove me to be irrational at times. I would volunteer for every difficult assignment.  I would raise my hand to serve on every task force or committee.  When I started my training at Coach U and saw this need, my life and career transformed.  With awareness  and self-management, I was no longer ‘driven’ to get that need met.

What’s your unmet need?  Do you have a need to be the smartest person in the room? Do you have the need to be liked? Do you have the need to be validated? Do you have the need for external recognition?  Do you have the need to be heard? Do you have the need to be part of ‘the team’?

Every human being has these needs.  The question is are they driving us in an invisible and unproductive way?

Can we gain this awareness about ourselves or will we remain driven by these underlying growth opportunities?  Can we then self-manage in a way that gets these needs met or at least keeps them in check?

Once you know who you are dealing with you on your team and the various aspects of each team member, it’s easy to ensure their roles play to their strengths.

The next step is to ensure that everyone demonstrates both the personal and professional maturity to develop themselves, self-manage and embrace these growth opportunities.

For our free report, Make More Money While Working Less click here: teamalignmentstrategies.com

 

Hilton Worldwide’s President & CEO of Simple Philosophy

If you know me, you know I love the NY Times’ Corner Office in the Sunday Business section. Since my definition of R&D is to ‘rob and duplicate’, I always love to steal the best ideas from successful leaders.  This weekly column by Adam Bryant is always full of great ideas.

On Sunday, October 14, the CEO of Hilton Worldwide, Christoper J. Nassetta, shared some real gems.  He articulated the appropriate role of a CEO succinctly and eloquently.  He said he has one simple philosophy…keep steady hands on the wheel.  I so love this.

To read the full interview click here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/business/christopher-nassetta-of-hilton-on-focusing-its-values.html

Think about your organization for a moment.  Are you driving results with such velocity that your colleagues feel intimidated or overwhelmed? Are you so innovative that they don’t know how to strategically capture all the potential opportunities for your company?  Or, if you’re like me, they all may have a warm fuzzy feeling about you and your company but they may not be clear about their Top 3 Strategic Initiatives for this quarter.

Whatever the opportunity, give yourself the give of ‘think time’ and see how you might, today, keep the steady hands on the wheel.  This way, you’ll be the strategic leader who is developing other strategic leaders.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Interim Check-points?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Perhaps a better opportunity to gain full understanding of our expectations?

Additional Resources or Guidance?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what is missing?

Skills?

Commitment?

Structures?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

What Does Total Team Alignment Take on a Daily Basis?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

Who are we being that is giving “Bob” permission to not meet our expectations?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.  Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.

Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Reach or Respond? You Choose!

In every moment something occurs.

We have a thought, someone says something or a situation arises.

The question is this.  Can we hit the pause button (as opposed to the snooze button that puts on auto-pilot) and bring our best self to that situation.

Can we choose to respond with thoughtfulness and purposefulness?

Or do we dive into activity without thought of the unintended consequences of our rushing into action?

Today would be a great day to practice the discipline of remembering to hit the pause button regularly.