Commit to greatness
KEN BLANCHARD, chairman of the Ken Blanchard Companies, Escondido, Calif., USA, is an international speaker and business consultant as well as the author or coauthor of more than 30 books. The Ken Blanchard Companies offer training courses on leadership and customer service.
photography by NICK SOUZA
When I'm asked how leaders can better manage their most critical projects, my answer is simple: If you create a great human organization by doing the right things for the right reasons at the right time, everything else takes care of itself.
The foundation for creating a great human organization results from leaders who serve and support their people—leaders who understand that people want to be recognized for the value they add to their organizations and to the projects they work on.
Leaders lead through service by seeing the future, engaging and developing others, continuously reinventing, valuing results and relationships, and embodying the values of the organization.
All of these actions are important. However, a huge focus today is tied to values. Workplace surveys list integrity as the number-one attribute people seek in leaders. The Arthur Andersen, Enron, Martha Stewart and WorldCom scandals in the United States sent a wake-up call to the corporate world: People want leaders who encourage ethical values and deliver ethical performance.
The core of a successful, ethically run company is vision. A clear vision has a customer-focused purpose, a picture of what success looks like, and an understanding of the values that will drive the day-to-day behavior of an organization's leaders and its people.
Obviously being ethical—doing the right things for the right reasons—is important. But another critical factor of good leadership is executing the right things at the right time. Being timely with decisions, actions and communications is essential to being effective in managing people and projects.
It is important for leaders to build and praise a positive culture. Leaders must take a minute to make sure people are clear on goals, catch team members when they're doing something right and take a minute to redirect them when they get off track.
However, creating a great human organization takes more than a minute. Leaders must ensure that their people receive the training and development necessary for them to live according to the organization's vision. The problem is that leaders often don't thoroughly understand the critical nature of support and development training. They postpone taking action because they are busy with “priorities.” It's not that they aren't interested in creating a great human organization, but there is an enormous difference between being interested in something and committing to it.
Take exercise as an example. Interested people will make excuses as to why today isn't the right time to work out. “I'm tired; it's raining; I have too much going on in my life … missing one day won't hurt.” In contrast, committed people care about results. “I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do. If the weather is bad, I'll dress appropriately or exercise indoors. If my schedule is tight, I'll get up earlier.”
People want leaders who encourage ethical values and deliver ethical performance.
Committed leaders don't procrastinate. They understand the effect of delay. They have an ability to see how poor decisions block good results and a clear picture of what must be done to succeed.
Don't be a “last-minute manager.” Focus on priority, propriety and commitment, and become the effective, efficient manager of projects and people you are meant to be.
The key to achieving project goals and overall organizational success has been the subject of many books, magazines and seminars. I maintain that it really isn't complicated. It all comes down to how you perform as a leader—to your ability to create a great human organization by doing the right things for the right reasons at the right time and to your personal commitment to making it happen.
Successful outcomes and profits will be the applause you get for doing a good job! PM
JUNE 2004 | PM NETWORK