Shaping the Future: The Critical Role of Planning During Transformational Change

In times of transformational change, good organizational planning can be a challenge. Even when planning occurs, there is little impact on the future actions and decisions of leaders, as they must constantly adapt to new information, new competitive threats, or shifting market constraints. As Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Resilience: The Most Important Executive Skill Not on Your Radar

A colleague and I met with a CEO late on a Friday afternoon to talk about her direct reports and to make some important decisions that would determine the configuration of her team. The CEO had gone through a long week and looked haggard and distracted. She rambled on about some topics and cut others short before giving them proper consideration. She went off on tangents, repeated some questions, and asked us to go over basic issues more than once.

CEOs of Private Equity–Backed Companies: Leveraging Insights from High-Performing Teams

Upgrading talent is a necessity identified by most CEOs as growth ramps up. This comes as no surprise. However, what is less evident is how that talent should be organized and deployed against a strategy, starting with the top team. Hiring a stronger supporting cast (e.g., a new CFO or chief product officer) may help, but too many management teams are suboptimized due to factors that extend beyond talent. We see many portfolio company CEOs wrongly assume that filling important talent gaps will automatically result in a performance bump.

Developing Leaders: Ambition and Mindfulness Meditation

Successful executive development requires significant and sustained ambition. Mindfulness meditation can be an important tool in examining that ambition and making it a fuel that sustains the senior leader’s development. Through mindfulness meditation, leaders can have a clearer picture of themselves and the goals they want to achieve, and they will be better able to focus on effective strategies for achieving those goals.

Leading Transformational Change: How to Build and Sustain Momentum

While working with the CEO and senior team for an aerospace company, I learned that a rocket includes a first-stage and second-stage booster, each with its own unique propellant to send the payload into space. Interestingly, the majority of the weight in the rocket is the propellant, not the satellite or cargo. This means it takes a significant amount of energy (e.g., fuel), used just at the right time, to get the payload to the specific destination.

Talent Development: Building a Diverse Talent Pipeline

How do you build a diverse talent pipeline? Few would disagree that talent development occurs within an organizational context. This argues for a more holistic or systemic approach to our talent development efforts that simultaneously facilitates growth and change across multiple stakeholder groups including the individual, their manager, and the enterprise.

Talent Development: A Major Concern for Organizational Health and Success

While it is abundantly clear that talent is a major concern for organizational health and success, few organizations have cracked the code on the people-development front. There are many reasons for this, including cost of development, piecemeal approaches and practices, fast-evolving talent needs in disruptive environments, talent sourcing, high-potential identification, and the efficacy of executive development practices.

Are Your Employees Connected to Customers?

Many companies want employees to maintain an external focus so that they stay connected to customers’ needs or preferences. For marketing and sales people, this is automatic given their role responsibilities. What about employees who don’t have natural interactions with customers? Too often, these individuals—whether they are from manufacturing, finance, or other support functions—become overly focused on internal problems and issues. They fail to understand the importance of staying current on customer or industry trends.

What Is Your Board’s Value Proposition This Year?

Boards of directors are expensive.

If you consider the combination of director fees, travel expenses incurred for board meetings, and the time put in by management teams to prepare for those meetings, the cost to a corporation for having a board typically totals several million dollars a year.

What, then, is the return on investment? Given the need of companies to maximize profits and the increased pressure on boards to contribute to the success of the organizations they direct, this question needs to be asked and answered. And the answer may well change over time.


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