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Organizational Development

As David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather once said:

    “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs.
     But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

Once Core Strategies are well articulated, the People Process is the next most important process.  One of the Board of Directors and the CEO’s core competencies should be the selection and the development of executive talent and 20-40% of the CEO’s agenda should be dedicated to hiring, appraising & coaching leaders. 

In the end, the ultimate throttle for growth is not the markets, the technology, the competition or products, it is the ability to attract and keep enough of the right people, with the right personality, in the right seats.

Hire / keep the best and avoid / recycle the rest.  Not only should the Board of Directors and the CEO be involved in all new leader hires, particularly sales management, the CEO bares the full accountability for the right hires being made, for the right people to be in the right jobs.  The CEO should focus the best resources on the biggest opportunities – not the biggest problems.

Charismatic Leadership

Within your own organization, you should not have to look very long for leadership, as leadership is very visible.  Leaders don’t necessarily have a title; but by their competence, their passion, their attitude, they get things done, and people around them grow naturally. 

Very often, we hear that leaders need to be charismatic.  It is probably because those who inspired us in the past were indeed, charismatic.  However, they were not simply charismatic in the pure sense; it was not a veneer; they never wanted to be charismatic.  What we are interpreting as charisma is an all-encompassing demonstration of their passion.  They have sparkles in their eyes; they speak with a flame in the belly about their organization, their employees, their customers, and their partners.  You can’t fake this sort of charisma. 

Good leaders hold a profound belief in what they are trying to accomplish, in the envisioned future and they demonstrate an unwavering resolve to do what must be done.  When they talk about anything related to reaching the Promised Land, they get enflamed in their passion, they become vibrant, eloquent, engaging, selling, even preachers. 

They take all their employees, board members, market players and customers in their wake.  This charisma matters and leaders need to be aware of the climate they create at all levels of the organization as this will affect strategy execution. 

More importantly, it is very evident that they are not the center of the discussion.  The topic is never about what they did, or how good they are, or about their own realizations.  They are, generally, humble people moved by passion.  They have achieved what Jim Collins calls Level 5 leadership: through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will, they build enduring greatness for their organization, not for themselves(2)

Building your organization

Ideally, you should promote from within and hire at the bottom of the hierarchy. However, there are many situations where this approach would prove impossible, particularly in smaller or fast growing organizations.   In promoting / hiring leaders, you should be looking for people with an enormous drive for winning; are upbeat with energy that energizes others, for the day, month, year; that get things done through others (delegating without abdicating); are decisive on tough issues (procrastination is contagious); follow through, calibrate judgment and align teams.  You want to create a leadership that is execution biased. 

The people process has to be full proof, and never compromised.  Best practices suggest that important hires should go through a four-way interview process including the manager once removed, a peer, a key employee and an HR representative.  This is in addition to the CEO for all senior positions.  All of these people should be using a uniform, agreed upon evaluation matrix customized for the position, bringing their own perspective to the same evaluation topics. 

Pruning your Organization

Remember, when you’re not certain, you are correct to be uncertain – don’t promote or hire, keep looking.  Errors in hiring or promoting, particularly in senior positions, will have mortifying effect on any organization.  Not only will cost the organization twenty-four to thirty months of wasted time, it has a direct cost, it as a lost opportunity cost, it has a morale cost, it has a vision cost. 

There is an argument to be made that organizations should prune a percentage of their workforce annually.  Not only does this rid the organization of lower performers, it enables new blood into the idea stream. 

Pruning the organization should not be based on a “beauty contest”, it needs to be anchored into a defined and credible performance management process . 

Growing Tomorrow’s Team

To strengthen your organization further, it is paramount that the leadership team deals with two major aspects: Career Planning or Development  and Succession Planning.  Although one could argue these are in fact the same, they are really representations of different interests.  Employees need to understand their career paths so they can see to road to personal growth.  The organization also needs to how people in higher echelons could eventually be replaced by employees with the right potentials. 


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Published at 20:01

11 March 2011

RGB Global Executive foresight
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