Get Off the Log!

Great leaders know that nothing changes, improves, grows, or progresses until someone executes. So how do leaders break the “sitting on the log and calling it work” syndrome?

Three frogs sat on a log at the edge of the swamp. One decided to jump in. How many frogs are now on the log? Nope, there are still three. Deciding and doing is not the same. In today’s competitive world, an activity focus (versus an execution focus) is the route to mediocrity.

In a results-oriented world, people judge your position by the one you take, not by the one you espouse. Until you execute, all decisions are just plain old intentions; all the planning and preparing is just “getting ready to.” Great leaders know that nothing changes, improves, grows, or progresses until someone executes. So how do leaders break the “sitting on the log and calling it work” syndrome?

They set clear expectations using expectations-setting conversations to gain agreement on the achievability of outcomes. They insist on regular touch points and “check-in” conversations to examine the path traveled, deliver confirming or corrective feedback, and settle on course corrections to ensure arrival at the future state.

Great leaders consistently apply consequences for great and/or poor performance, knowing that effective employees trust leaders who are fair and consistent. Effective employees prefer a setting where there are consequences commensurate with results produced. When a poor performer is allowed to remain in his or her position, it adversely affects the morale and fair workload of all.

Great leaders do not allow meetings to plan meetings. They insist meetings have an advance agenda, begin with clear objectives, and end with actions assigned to people who commit to results produced by the next gathering. They require concrete evidence that promised results have been accomplished. Leaders in activity-focused units need to “change the people” or “change the people.” And those employees who insist on log sitting need to be “made available to the industry.”

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