History has many important lessons to teach us, especially when it comes to the consequences of aggressively pursuing a bad strategy. One such lesson comes from the time of British rule of colonial India when something know as the Cobra Effect became a classic example of a well-intentioned leadership intervention that produced exactly the opposite results from what was expected.
The time-tested Peter Principle states that as employees rise in the hierarchy of the organization, they eventually reach a level of incompetence that leads to their failure and eventual demise. In the new corporate paradigm, the Peter principle is even more insidious. The more competent you are and the more willing you are to take on additional tasks and responsibilities, the more likely the organization will load you up until you fail.
Well-intentioned leaders have been telling their management teams that strategy execution is the most important focus for the organization for a long time without really doing much about it. The key to strategy execution is to understand the four barriers that may be getting in your way.
Most meetings fall into one of two categories. There are the Crystal Ball meetings that focus on planning, forecasting and strategizing. And there’s the far-less common Rearview Mirror meetings that focus on reviewing, analyzing and figuring out the lesson learned. If you really want to supercharge your organization and magnify your competitive advantage, commit to using the Rearview Mirror meeting to its full effect.
The threat of irrelevance is pushing professionals to think they need to keep changing and developing. But reinventing yourself is not as easy as the recruiters and self-help books might have you believe. My suggestion is don’t reinvent yourself, reinvigorate yourself. A reenergized you today, is far more useful than a reinvented future self.
It’s a sad but true fact that the majority of well-meaning leadership development and training programs fail, or at least fall short of expectations. As I coach and consult with C-Suite leaders, this ranks amongst the biggest disappointments that they routinely relate to me. In my experience, there are three primary reasons that these important initiatives fail to produce the desired results.