Good old Donald Trump! Having won a spectacular election victory on the back of some extravagant promises, we can begin to see the difficulties ‘motherhood’ statements can create. In the UK, we too are seeing how difficult is is going to be to deliver an exit from the EU that puts us ‘in control’ of anything. And even Jeremy Corbyn seems to have recognised that a manifesto needs substance if he is to sustain a leadership position.
Business leaders have been warned for years against motherhood statements such as ‘being the best’, ‘delighting all stakeholders’ or ‘being the supplier of choice’. However, as election slogans, they seem to have some caché. As a vehicle for creating organisational direction for those that work within, they lose power. Too often have I worked with senior and middle managers confused about what they should be prioritising and the choices they are meant to make.
Gerry Robinson (before he repositioned himself as demigod), put his success at Granada down to identifying the five or six things that were critical to the success of the business, and spending 100% of his time on them. Within these, he focussed on results and kept well away from the detail. Part of the leadership task is therefore creating clarity for people about what they should be doing. As Michael Portillo is reported to have said: “By the time you are absolutely sick to death of explaining how something’s got to happen, people are just starting to understand what needs to be done.”
So, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, why not review the the current Critical Success Factors for your organisation, identify the results that are needed and feasible, and spend 100% of your time on these over the next 12 months? As Donald Trump must surely learn, a bit of consistency never goes amiss!
You’ll have spotted, of course, that this in itself is a resolution, and illustrates just how difficult it is to be clear about things.
HAPPY NEW YEAR