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Results Matter – What performance?

The blogosphere kicked up some good posts recently on this topic. It follows on my previous post on Management and Drucker. Drucker had written about results and performance in “Managing for Results” and it’s companion “The Effective Executive“. As I rant about the corporate lunancy rampant through the ranks, it goes back to these questions and topics.

Let’s start with, do you know where you’re heading and what the end-game vision is to be? That’s like the horizon and the north star to help guide the captain of the boat (yes, that would be you so wake up and focus!). I like how Stacey Douglas blogged about it in her take on Results Matter:

You simply cannot manage what you don’t understand, nor can you delegate it or request updates on it. Understand and manage to results, not to line items on a task list.

For the management folks, take heed to these wise words – thanks to Jonathan Becher for sharing it:

“It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises—but only performance is reality.”
Harold S. Geneen, 1910-1997, communications executive

“The man who starts out going nowhere, generally gets there.”
Dale Carnegie, 1888-1955, author and pioneer in self-improvement and interpersonal skills

So, drop the powerpoint, step away from the excel sheet, stop the MS Word document/memo, and walk away from the email. We’re mindless manipulators of meaningless meditations. Focus – 5Ws (Who, What, Where, Why, When) + 2Hs (How, How many). It’s appalling how so many folks can’t start their analysis with this and seemingly go off the deep end down the rabbit hole because they simply don’t know where the organization needs to go and what should be done to get there. One cannot simply delegate that thinking to others. Want sheep then go to New Zealand.

Know why you are here. Why the company or organization you belong to is here. Mission – Vision > leads to rolling up the sleeves and doing stuff that gets the results directly impacting and affecting the company’s performance be it in dollars, customer satisfaction, sales, new innovations and patents, but it’s got to be SMART.

I close today’s musings with reference the latest CEO and leadership profile from Adam Bryant’s Corner Office column. Read the interview of Linda Hudson, president of the land and armaments group for BAE Systems, a military contractor.

  1. September 28, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    I see your point. What about the old saying, ” The blind leading the blind”? I have seen organizations that do not have a clear mission and everyone is lost. There is no path to the future it is just let’s get through today.

  2. September 28, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    Hi Arun,

    It’s what I’m driving at in the posting – we have a lot of the blind leading the blind. Whether or not the future path is clear or not, the leaders, especially at the senior levels, must have it or fake it. Otherwise, it would be quite demoralizing to the organization and the rank and file. Managing through tough times requires this very minimum.

    I think the mental process of working through these questions/issues will help clarify the so-called fog of management and leadership.


  3. September 30, 2009 at 2:44 AM

    Thanks for the mention. For readers who would like to see the other quotes, here is the post: http://alignment.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/more-performance-management-quotes/.

    While I agree with you worry of the “blind leading the blind”, I don’t see much improvement. Study after study show that even senior executives can’t say what their strategy is: http://alignment.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/can-you-say-what-your-strategy-is/. While there are many reasons, I think one of the primary ones is that people confuse strategy and planning: http://alignment.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/strategy-vs-planning/

  4. October 23, 2009 at 8:42 AM

    Hi Jonathan,

    Sorry missed your reply. Appreciate your chiming in and sharing your links. I had read your Strategy vs. Planning article and agree with the insights. When we don’t get this right, we veer off the right path.

    I think that one way organizations can do it better is through a disciplined project portfolio management process. The Strat + Planning organization with Finance with PMO and IT can be very helpful. These to me are the “basics” – Money, Plans, Future Vision and Enabling of the first three.

    Thanks for dropping by.


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