|Coach Bill Walsh is hoisted on the shoulders of San Francisco 49ers players after a win in the 1985 Super Bowl. His method of team building can be applied to business management.|
- We all knew when we were below plan and we knew the consequences for failure. Can you imagine Walsh telling a quarterback again and again that he needs to complete his passes? That's leadership with no value.
- The sales cycle on our deals was 12 to 18 months. The root cause of last week's problem did not happen last week. In the end, our leadership team never created a real plan to improve the sales capabilities; we spent almost all our time together managing the scoreboard.
A real recovery begins, as Jack Welch famously said by, "Accepting reality as it is and not as you want it to be." We want it to be someone else's fault. And we want the fix to be easy. Experienced HR professionals will tell you that almost every manager request for performance improvement support is either: a training class or a change to the pay system. Both absolve the manager of fault, and both are easy. If your HR partner responds to a request for training by running off to find training, he's not a business partner, he's a servant. A good HR partner will identify a root cause and build a complete solution that changes daily behavior. A training class, by itself, almost never changes behavior. And if people come to work after a week of training and they don't do something different from the week before, there is no value to anyone. Here's the most important point: Building a highly effective organization is very difficult and time consuming. Daily firefights and time spent managing the scoreboard leave little time for capability building. Many want a quick win. Quick wins are easy and ... quick. For example, "Creating an accountable culture? Let's just issue a statement of desired behaviors." No way will that change behavior and, if there is no behavior change, there is no value to anyone. A rocket needs enough energy and speed to break through the atmosphere. Almost enough energy produces the same result as no energy at all: The rocket ends up back on earth. The same is true with organization improvements. Accept reality: Building an effective organization is difficult and time consuming. Managers who choose this high road are well-advised to follow Yoda, "Do or do not ... there is no try." This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.