I found some notes from a consulting engagement from a couple of years ago where the CEO and I went off-site and we mapped out the organization’s top 10 priorities. The CEO was replaced by the Board and last I checked, not only they haven’t replaced him (does anyone ever wonder the utility of or lifecycle of an “interim” role?) but they’ve also not implemented any of these, conceptually agreed, priorities to move the organization forward!

Amazing how often, the board is simply dysfunctional and they continue to wonder why they’re losing market share, amazingly talented people, and of course revenue and margin opportunities. See if you can argue with any of these recommendations:

  1. 2012 Vision & Strategy – Make it clear, succinct, simple, and gain board support behind owning and devising a path to get there.
  2. Business Development / Corporate Development – Topgrade the team and institutionalize best practices for consistent progress and outcomes.
  3. Relocate the HQ – Make definitive plans to move from the current geographically undesirable location to a metro market more easily able to attract and retain top talent.
  4. Redefine the Key Roles – From “command & control,” to “trust & track” move beyond functional silos to customer-centric capabilities.
  5. Upgrade the Tech Infrastructure – Dramatically upgrade your CRM, integrate social & mobile strategies, and develop a roadmap based on customer lifecycles.
  6. Institutionalize Best Practices – Develop a “playbook” of best practices across customer touch points for repeatable, predictable processes & outcomes.
  7. Rebrand – The brand was (and is) tired, outdated, and not consistent with the equity they had built or the promise they were offering clients moving forward.
  8. Elevate Your Distribution – Develop a more robust franchise model led by a senior franchise expert! Hold franchisees accountable for performance, execution and results.
  9. Client Lifecycle – Integrate the IMPACT Model into a much stronger understanding of the customer lifecycle, what they need as they grow and how you can continue to add value at every stage of their evolution.
  10. Expand Your Market Reach via Strategic Alliances – Specific to 10 growth areas of the organization, identify, prioritize and invest in strategic alliance relationships with larger organizations who can help you expand and extend your market reach.

Again, not a single one has been implemented almost two years later. This isn’t about me or my methodology (input). It’s about big ideas being squashed by small minds. It’s about mediocrity feeling threatened by meritocracy.

In my experience, organizations, which are in terrible shape, have usually been victimized by a series of poor decisions by the leadership or the board. As a senior leadership advisor, I’ve yet to find a reason to believe that they will suddenly see the error of their ways, hire me, and adhere closely to my advice. Instead, they have been protective, defensive, and miserly.

Conversely, clients I’ve worked with who were in great shape have been led by exceptional leaders who make intelligent choices, are willing to listen to new ideas, and have resources (human, time, capital) to invest.

The lesson learned from working with the client above is that the old school advise of “creating pain,” seldom works! Instead, I focus on finding strong, tough minded, astute executives for whom I can create growth, innovation, and passion / excitement in their evolution. They become exceptional clients and often, great friends.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn