The biggest error that senior managers and leaders make is around the communication of what they’d like to be done or about what they’re doing. (Telling people once is not communication). Senior management meetings are full of directors, heads and stakeholders asking;
‘Why is our strategy not working’?
‘Why don’t the staff follow the policies and procedures’?
‘Why do our managers keep making poor day-to-day decisions’?
Of course, it could be that your leadership skills are poor so your strategy, policies or people are weak. But it’s more often the case that senior managers aren’t investing the time and effort to communicate it; to make the messages reverberate around the organisation; to ensure that the culture is shaped to deliver the direction set by the senior management team.
If your managers and your staff don’t hear you talk about it – always – they’re not going to believe it’s important to start doing.
If your staff don’t recognise that you’re living it – always – they’re not going to believe it’s important to keep doing.
Sir Terry Leahy, the CEO of Tesco during it’s phenomenal growth period of the late nineties and noughties, wrote in his book that consistently going round the business talking about Tesco’s values was the most important and valuable work he ever did.
(Worth noting from someone who has been voted Britain’s Business Leader of the Year, the Fortune European Businessman of the Year, Management Today’s most-admired Business Leader, the Guardian’s Most Influential Non-Elected Person of the Year and has been knighted for his services to retail business, don’t you think)?
If it’s not connecting and you’re a senior leader, it’s either your ideas or your communication. Invest your time appropriately.