Executive Briefings

Senior Executives and How They Can Better Balance People and Priorities

To assess organizational alignment, here are three simple questions for your business leaders: What are your company's ten most exciting value-creation opportunities? Who are your ten best people? How many of your ten best people are working on your ten most exciting opportunities?

It's a rough and ready exercise, to be sure. But the answer to the last question"”typically, no more than six"”is usually expressed with ill-disguised frustration that demonstrates how difficult it is for senior executives to achieve organizational alignment.

What makes this problem particularly challenging is a number of paradoxes, many of them rooted in the eccentricity and unpredictability of human behavior, about how organizations really tick. Appealing as it is to believe that the workplace is economically rational, in reality it is not. As explained in the book, Beyond Performance, a decade's worth of data derived from more than 700 companies strongly suggests that the rational way to achieve superior performance"”focusing on its financial and operational manifestations by pursuing multiple short-term revenue-generating initiatives and meeting tough individual targets"”may not be the most effective one.

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Keywords: leadership training, management, organizational unity

It's a rough and ready exercise, to be sure. But the answer to the last question"”typically, no more than six"”is usually expressed with ill-disguised frustration that demonstrates how difficult it is for senior executives to achieve organizational alignment.

What makes this problem particularly challenging is a number of paradoxes, many of them rooted in the eccentricity and unpredictability of human behavior, about how organizations really tick. Appealing as it is to believe that the workplace is economically rational, in reality it is not. As explained in the book, Beyond Performance, a decade's worth of data derived from more than 700 companies strongly suggests that the rational way to achieve superior performance"”focusing on its financial and operational manifestations by pursuing multiple short-term revenue-generating initiatives and meeting tough individual targets"”may not be the most effective one.

Read Full Article


Keywords: leadership training, management, organizational unity