Author: Mike Desjardins

As a leader if you've waiting for everyone else to start modelling candour and authenticity, it might be a while. Our jobs as leaders is to model the behaviours we'd like to see demonstrated by our boss, our direct reports, and our peers. Being candid and...

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: 4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 20,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals Click here...

The last step in the strategic planning process is often overlooked, and yet, it’s one of the most important: the action steps that will lead to the successful completion of your objectives.

But we need well-formed objectives before we can map out action steps.

Here are eight things we need to consider for solid action plans:

Ownership: one person must be responsible and accountable for tracing the progress toward each objective, keeping the team informed, ensuring timely action steps are occurring and adjusting the actions as reality teaches us what needs to shift.

Action steps: each objective needs to have a series of action steps that lay out a clear path throughout the year on how it can be achieved. If the objective is the “what,” then the action steps are the “hows.” It’s critical that the action steps are clear and actionable steps versus vague ideas or thoughts.

I remember sitting in a productivity seminar in an Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference in Chicago a few years ago when the speaker asked a series of interesting questions.

The first was: “Who in the room is habitually late for everything?” The second was: “Who in the room prides themself with being on time?”

Then he asked: “For those of you who are always late, what do you think the impression you leave with people is?”

The answers around the room were, “I’m busy, important, successful, value my time, etc.”

Then the speaker asked: “For those of you who are always on time, what do you think about people who are late for meetings?”

The answers they gave included: “rude, inconsiderate, poor planners, not very thoughtful, selfish, disorganized, etc.” You could have heard a pin drop.

A 1997 McKinsey and Company survey coined the phrase “the war for talent.” It forecast a two- decade demographically fuelled net reduction in talent in the workforce due to baby boomers retiring.

The recent recession slowed that war, as boomers planning to retire saw their RRSPs, investments and pensions take a massive hit. As these investments begin to recover to pre-September 2008 levels, it’s again becoming attractive for boomers to consider retirement or early retirement.

"There can be as much as a 10- to 15-year experience gap between retiring leaders and high potentials."

I've spoken to a number of executives lately who are concerned about their corporate culture and who want to know the key areas for leveraging change. Here are four areas that influence culture directly and are in your control as an executive team: What behaviours we...

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Very rarely do I hear from CEO's and executives who are worried they will not be able to plot a strategy that makes sense for their company. More often than not, their greatest challenge lies in execution of the plan. One of the core issues in execution that holds back progress is ineffective decision making systems that result from a limited understanding of how decisions are made, who has the ability and responsibility to make decisions and what criterion is being used to make those decisions.

The ability to make clear, definite decisions in a timely fashion can be the difference between leading and lagging the competition. If key people in your organization are in decision paralysis what effect is that having on overall progress? Can you afford the extra time it’s taking to make decisions in your competitive industry?

So what can you do about it? Take a good look at how your decision-making culture might be slowing down the execution of your strategic plan by starting to understand which of these common blocks may be holding you back from making timely decisions: