The Gutsball Blog

Articles posted in Leadership

Friday
14
Sep

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Leadership

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

It’s that time of year again. Yes, I know the kids are back in school and soon the leaves will begin to change color.  The esoterics are something I’ll deal with another time perhaps, but today I want to discuss that time honored corporate rite, the creation of the business plan for next year.  Many companies are somewhere along the completion spectrum right about now.


Let’s start with the premise, whether you are a middle manager or a CEO, that everyone has a boss; meaning that somewhere along the road your business plan submission will be reviewed by someone who will think you’ve presented a compelling case based on a cogent thought process.  Or, and this happens all too frequently, that someone will think you are all wet and send you back to the drawing board.


If you are the CEO of a publicly held company, you and your investor relations team have spent lots of time during the year in a push / pull dance with sell side analysts on Wall Street.  Half of the effort is devoted to convincing them that your strategy is sound and growth prospects bright, while at the same time trying to finesse a dumbed down earnings projection so that The Street doesn’t set the bar so high that it can’t be jumped over.  Eventually, a consensus earnings and revenue forecast is achieved.  It’s at that point that the CEO turns to his or her planning team and says something like, “go forth into the organization and bring me back some numbers that are X% higher than The Street’s consensus.  We need wiggle room.”

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Tuesday
21
Aug

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Leadership

Why Customer Satisfaction is Important…Really

Why Customer Satisfaction is Important…Really

At HP Financial Services, we go to great lengths to measure customer satisfaction.  In our parlance, it’s known as Total Customer Experience or TCE.  Many companies do, so, it must be important, right?  It is, but how you turn that information into enhanced customer loyalty and competitive advantage is the real key.


It may sound too simplistic to ask the question, “Why is customer satisfaction important?”  But the answers are perhaps less obvious than you think.  Sure, you’ve got the typical indicators such as competitive comparison which is correlated to something we used to call Customer Loyalty which has traditionally been closely linked to market share statistics.  And, market share results have been known to drive all kinds of go-to-market decisions including, importantly, marketing expense – usually a big number in many companies.

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Wednesday
1
Aug

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Leadership

The Imperative of Operating Principles

The Imperative of Operating Principles

When the winds of change blow, what do you hang onto?  When uncertainties abound, what’s your anchor?  When complexity is heaped upon complication, do you have a baseline?  When catastrophe strikes, and it always does, can you be counted upon to do the right thing, first time and every time?


These, and similar, questions are put to business leaders almost daily.  How they are addressed is easily as important as the “what” that gets decided upon and implemented.  Regardless of the issue or circumstance, successful navigation of troubled waters begins with unwavering adherence to a set of clearly articulated operating principles.  And, no, I am not referring to a set of platitudes that become miniaturized, laminated in plastic and carried around in a shirt pocket or purse.  Rather, I am talking about “this is what we do and how we do it” and being consistent about it over a period of time so that your people develop confidence in your leadership because they know what to expect from you no matter what.
 

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Monday
9
Jul

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Leadership

Organizing for Success

Organizing for Success

It’s been said that companies are perfectly designed to produce their results.  And, you can apply that statement to both good and bad results.  By the way, don’t limit your thinking solely to the bottom line because other numbers e.g. customer and employee satisfaction are equally important; there is strong evidence to support the notion that they are directly correlated, to profitability.

What kind of organization do you lead or work for?  Are people organized for success or does your company adhere to the traditional (Read: Outdated) command and control structure?  Can people, no matter how far away from the strategic management level, still recognize and are energized by the contributions they make to the business every day?  Is there transparency?  An articulated set of operating principles and, if so, are you true to them?

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Tuesday
3
Jul

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Leadership

Leadership and the European Debt Crisis

Leadership and the European Debt Crisis

As the debt crisis in Europe worsens, there are questions that must be asked: “Where was the leadership?” “Why was there no accountability?” “How could things have gotten this far?”

It’s too easy to say that the leadership of the several economically troubled countries are simply politicians whose only goal in life is to be re-elected, keep their party in power…in essence keep their jobs.  After all, leaders of business have constituencies they are responsible to as well.

Perhaps it would be useful to examine some of the business leader’s key characteristics.  Then, you can decide for yourself whether the heads of state for those countries in deep financial difficulty measure up.

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