Taking responsibility for decisions Taking responsibility for communicating Focusing on opportunities rather than problems Running productive meetings Speaking as “We” rather than “I” The first two practices give executives the knowledge they need. The next four help them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensure that the whole organization feels responsible and accountable. What are the essential points in this article? Executives need to ask what is right for the enterprise, rather than what is right for the owners, stock price, the employees or the executives.
Asking this question does not guarantee the correct decision will be made; however failure to ask this question will nearly guarantee the wrong decision. Knowledge is useless until it has been translated into actions but actions need to first be planned to identify possible restraints and implications. The action plan should be a statement of intention rather than commitment and should be revised often because every success and failure creates new opportunities. The action plan needs to have a system for checking results against expectations.
Lastly, the action plan has to become the basis for the executive’s time management, which is an executive’s most scarce and valuable resource. Executives need to take responsibility for communicating; executives need to share their plans, ask for feedback and indicate specifics on what information they need from their subordinates to get the job done. Good executives focus on opportunities rather than problems; they treat change as an opportunity rather than a threat. Effective executives ensure problems do not overwhelm opportunities and put their best people onopportunity tasks.
Executives must make meetings productive and ensure that meetings are work sessions rather than bull sessions. A few key notes are to decide in advance what kind of meeting each session will be, end each session when the purpose has been accomplished and lastly, follow-up on each meeting. Effective executives have authority because they have the trust of the organization and therefore think of the organizations needs and opportunities before their own. Lastly, one rule stands; listen before you speak. How can you apply what you learned to business?