Business Strategy Not Working? Consider these 12 Leadership Mistakes
You may have spent a lot of time and money devising a strategic plan. You are certain your strategy and implementation plans meet the gold standard. So why isn’t it working? When a good strategy doesn’t work, the problem may be due to leadership mistakes. It takes strong executive leaders to successfully executive strategies particularly when they involve change.
Here are some common leadership mistakes failures that can torpedo your strategic thrusts.
- Bad Hires
Hiring great people is a challenge even when you have extensive vetting procedures. 74% of employers say that at some point they hired the wrong person.
Bad hires can cost your company dearly. the U.S. Department of Labor estimates the cost of a bad hire is at least 30% of their first-year earnings. The reality is that the cost is probably much greater when you consider all the factors including
- Training costs
- Time spent in searching and interviewing
- Time spent managing badly executed work
- Productivity dives from project slow-downs and disruptions
- Decreased team morale
- Possible legal costs from wrongful termination litigation
- Time spent searching, interviewing and training for a new hire
There is no iron-clad insurance against bad hires, but at a minimum you will want to
- Develop and follow a consistent hiring process that property evaluates skills, cultural fit, attitude and references.
- Avoid letting need push you to make hiring decisions too quickly.
Once you realize you have made a bad hire that no amount of training will fix, you need to move the person out of that position or get rid of them completely. Do it as quickly as possible to mitigate the impact on your team and productivity.
- Inadequate Employee Training
Making a good hire is just the beginning. After you make the hire, you should focus even more energy and resources on training and onboarding. Set up a structured training program for your new hire before they set foot in the door. Some companies just throw new employees in the pool to sink or swim. Instead, set your employees up to succeed.
Develop structured procedures for imparting knowledge about your company and its goals as well as the work itself. And don’t stop with new hires. Always be thinking about what additional training you can give to the employee to help them reach the next level. Attitude and aptitude are often more important than skill sets.
One reason some executives don’t spend a lot of efforts on training management personnel is they are afraid that some bright protégé will take over their position. The reality is that the only way to be a successful leader is to groom your team members to reach their full potential. An important part of an executive’s job is to create more leaders. Only then can your company grow. Neglecting to help your reports reach the next level is a major leadership mistake.
- Failure to Listen and Connect
Yes, you need a guiding strategy, but you must still listen to employees who are on the front lines. Otherwise, you may not be aware of all the facts and conditions you need to make good decisions, and possibly to alter your strategies.
Part of effectively listening to your employees is building good relationships with them. Connecting with your employees goes a long way to fostering productive discussions about the work and influencing them to make changes when they are required.
- Ineffective Communication
There is a whole lot more to good communication than just issuing authoritative memos. People want to be kept in the loop. If you are planning change or a big company initiative, take the time to inform your team of the details. Clarify your goals and the methods the company plans to use to achieve them. Be sure everyone understands what you want to communicate and what is expected of them. Roles may change with new initiatives, and such changes are particularly important to communicate.
At the very least, hold a meeting at the start of any new project to discuss objectives, timelines and responsibilities. This is a good time to encourage people to discuss their concerns when you can address them rather than letting issues fester.
A positive attitude goes a long way in encouraging your troops. If you are always negative, it’s a good bet that lack of enthusiasm will filter throughout your team. Make every effort to motivate your people rather than drag them down.
Many executives complain that they can’t even take a vacation without the company falling apart. If that’s the case, you are doing something wrong. Top executives must learn to delegate in order to give themselves the time they need to work on the big picture. It doesn’t do your company any good to drive yourself into the ground.
Successful delegation begins with the hiring process. Look for hires who are competent in some of your own areas of expertise. Train these people to take over some of the work that is stealing the time you should use to work on strategy and the big picture.
- Delegating Without Taking Responsibility
It’s not enough to just delegate. As mentioned, you must give the person the training they need to take over the task and the authority they need to execute it. That doesn’t free you from responsibility. If a project fails, it is ultimately often due to leadership mistakes. You must keep tabs on the work and the results. Make yourself available as a sounding board and pitching when something goes wrong.
- Unnecessary Risk Avoidance
If a company is to adjust to a changing world and a changing market, it must sometimes take acceptable risks. Certainly, some risks should be avoided. But where there is a good chance of success, executives must be willing to take limited risks in order to pursue potentially profitable opportunities and grow the company.
It’s only human nature to stick with what worked in the past. But in a changing market, implementing winning strategies often involves making changes. Executives must be flexible and forward-thinking. They also must have the strength and ability to rally their team to make changes when needed. If your executives cannot modify their ways of doing things in a changing environment, it will eventually sound the death knell of your company.
- Failure to Learn from Failure
Sometimes you will attempt initiatives that fail. The important thing is for executives to learn from failures mistakes rather than be discouraged by them. Certainly, with good planning, you can greatly reduce your mistakes. But when you face an outcome that is less than successful, analyze your actions and course correct. Use failure past mistakes to fuel determination, and apply lessons learned to future endeavors on your way to success.
- Not Measuring Success and Failure
Creating a great strategy is only the beginning. Your executives must closely monitor successes, progress and failures mistakes so they can tweak strategies and implementation tactics to come out on top.
The Three Pillars of Business
A successful business relies on three pillars: strategy, implementation and leadership. Your business can develop strong leaders through executive coaching. Executive coaching does not just help individual executives develop. It is also a pivotal tool for minimizing leadership failure mistakes while maximizing productivity and profitability throughout your organization. Strong leaders build winning teams.