What leaders want and need across geographies and businesses is not dissimilar. Worldwide, CEO’s and executives are concerned about the ability of their organizations to deliver:
- Consistent execution of strategy by top management
- Sustained and steady top-line growth
- Customer loyalty and retention
In a recent study where CEO’s were asked, “What do your leaders need to do better to meet your challenges?” they consistently responded:
- Improve Retention: Getting and keeping the right people
- Effectively Manage Change: Producing fast, sustainable results
- Build Accountability: Driving business results and being responsible for impact on people.
The business needs are clear, yet many executives stay up nights worrying about why their organizations are not hitting their targets. The answer may be misdiagnosed and untreated leadership dysfunction. Behavior is the infrastructure that either derails a company or ensures its success.
The Cost of Treating the Symptoms, and Not the Problem
It is a costly mistake when leaders misdiagnose behavioral issues. Enormous expenditures of money, time and energy are spent on organizational initiatives that treat the symptoms and not the problem. Total quality management, reengineering, right sizing, enterprise integration, sophisticated IT shops, and turnarounds do not work when there is an underlying behavioral problem. Leaders must be aligned and collaborative when it comes to restructuring, new processes and systems. Organizational change does not result in behavioral change.
Everybody suffers when there is leadership dysfunction. The problem is not clear. The environment is unproductive, downbeat and unsafe. The same breakdowns and problems occur again and again. People are frustrated because leaders are not cohesive and are tackling the wrong problem. People disengage, withhold their discretionary effort and leave the organization, either physically or emotionally.
Secondary problems emerge when there is a lack of cohesive leadership: Poor attraction and retention of talent, significant underperformance, inconsistent execution and low employee engagement. Worse yet, nothing helps. Increased compensation and benefits, a better work environment, perks and other worthy employee benefits put salve on the wound but are ineffective in healing it.