Veteran, new and aspiring executives need methods to be successful in their organization. There are 1000s of leadership podcasts, videos, blogs, and articles but few authors address what to do or how to do it.
We have witnessed many executives who are efficient (doing things right), but few executives are effective (doing the right things). We believe this is misguided and aim to remedy the shortfall with executives.
The Effective Executive – Episode 52
Do You Know the Business?
Seeing the Whole
[00:00:00] This is the 52nd episode of the the effective executive podcasts and YouTube channel, and this week I had watched the profit.
[00:00:15] I don’t know how many of you watch it or not, but with Marcus Lemonis and I always like to watch these, because in small organizations, they are microcosms of larger organizations, and you can kind of see how things develop. You know, growing from maybe a two person operation to a thousand person operation. And you you can see some of the things that are in the makings of how people think and how an organization ultimately gets put together. So it reminded me this week of four things that executives should do. And and this episode that I watched of the Profit was James Gourmet, and it was Pise. This was a veteran that made pies. And Marcus Lemonis came in. And this guy is looking for an investment, basically for his pies. And as I listened to this, this episode of the Prophet, I just thought, geez, there’s a lot of things in here that I see that people can learn from, that executives can learn from, no matter whether you’re in a small business or a super large business and. The first thing was that you need to educate yourself. You know, there needs to be some continual improvement that’s being done now. There’s I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s thousands, literally thousands of people teach the soft skills of being a leader and those types of things. That’s not what I do.
[00:02:07] I’m more about the hard skills. And I think that these are things that executives need to develop. You know, things like learn about their industry. You know, there’s there’s often there’s sometimes conferences, there’s learning sessions. There’s a whole series of things. Typically, in every industry that can develop your broader thinking about the system that you’re operating in and in your particular industry. And I think those are all good things. Now, James, the owner of James Gourmet. His focus was he wanted to be a business man and he didn’t want to be a pie maker as it ultimately came out. As you watch this episode. And he really resisted any type of education on the work. He wanted to be involved with fun stuff in his mind. And I see this in coaching and working with executives, is they they have a tendency to gravitate unless they’re coached away from it to the stuff that they only enjoy doing. And so you get better at something you’re already good at, doesn’t get you as much as getting better at something that maybe you aren’t so good at, and that the business that you’re in or the organization that you’re in would benefit from. So what is the first take away is, is this concept of continually improve by education. As far as an executive goes. And now the second thing was that you need to educate yourself about the business itself. So often you’ll see well, in James case with, say, in the small business, you know, he needs to learn how to bake, especially in a small business, because there isn’t really much more to the work other than making the pies and ultimately selling them.
[00:04:06] But he he needed to understand the business in order to be able to innovate and in order to make things better. But it doesn’t matter in most industries I see, especially with all the flight of executives from one company to another, from one industry to another, the there’s this mindset that an executive is kind of a plug and play type of position that, oh, he was who is he or she was so successful in this industry. And so let’s bring them in and they’ll be able to fix, you know, basically what we’re doing. And if they’re in another industry, I am not saying it doesn’t happen. I’ve seen it happen. Sometimes that works. But more often than not, it doesn’t work as well, because the person that’s being recruited from a different industry comes in with the mindset of, I can improve this business based on what I learned in a different industry. And like I said, sometimes that works. But but there’s usually a lot of hubris involved in that particular mindset. People just want to take what they did in their their previous position and put it in. And the flexibility often isn’t there to be able to be successful in a different industry. Same thing goes for even if you’re in the same industry when you were in, let’s say, a competitor and that you’re recruited into a new business that was a former competitor of yours, you know, oh, they’re hiring me because I’m so great and so smart.
[00:05:52] And again, it’s a lot of this is hubris with regards to executives. And so what they bring in is not to learn, but to implement and to execute, because that’s what executives do. Right. It’s even in the name executives execute. So but I think maybe even we need to come up with a different name or something. But just execution does not is not what will make your business better. You need to understand the business itself. You need to understand the differences between when you were in the previous organization versus the organization. This is whether you’re coming in from an into a different industry or from a competitor. You need to understand what the differences are between the two businesses. So there’s this educational process that you need to go through. And in order to understand the differences and understand why they do things differently, different could be because of different customers, different processes, different thought, those types of things. And so the follow on to that is, you know, in a small business, you can see almost everything. You know, if you were a blacksmith, you know, 200 years ago, then you pretty much saw the whole system. You were the salesperson. You were the person who pounded out the metal that, you know, you saw in to end and you were able to adjust and do those types of things.
[00:07:34] But as far as businesses became less of one person and more of multiple people, a lot of this was lost. And so you can’t see it all. And so that that becomes the one of the first things that I coach executives do is to educate themselves on the end to end process because they don’t see it. It’s just not something that is inherent to what they do. They don’t see the entire system. They only or maybe it’s a department that they’re put over or whatever. And in a thousand person organization to be able to see from the time the customer places an order or submits a complaint all the way through the end. It’s something that is very difficult to see unless you take the time to do it. So this is part of the education program that I coach executives on and executive teams is to get to look through that customer lens so that they can see the whole of what’s going on. The other thing is I have what I call the thinking lines, and that’s to educate yourself on how your organization thinks. Now, I never suggest that people go in, whether it’s the customer lens or how the organization thinks. And you say, well, that’s all wrong, you know, that type of thing, because you’re going to have to be taking a whole group of people. It’s an organization that have that mindset.
[00:09:10] They’ve been in that system for a long period of time and be able to make the changes in that system. And so you need to start from where they are and not from where you are. And going through the process of looking through the thinking lens especially, and learning about how that organization there’s a number of things, but but two important ones are how they control things in the organization, how they motivate around those. And those, to me, are the two biggest pieces in an organization that influence how it acts and how it responds to customers and employees and things of that sort. So getting to understand that, because I can guarantee you from that organization came from there, not all the same, especially around control and motivation. And sometimes it’s difficult to weed out until you start to see the reactions that customers, employees have to deal with on a daily basis, because it’s not a conscious thing in many cases. It’s not something there’s a rule or a policy or anything like that. They’re these it’s the interconnection of the parts. As one might say that when we’re looking at a system and the whole of it and the interaction of those parts is is where a lot of this is won and lost. With regards to the success of an executive as well as the organization. So that’s what I wanted to cover this week. You have a great Labor Day weekend and I’ll catch you next week.