Posts Tagged ‘organizational success’

Misalignment Continues to Be the True Foil Impeding Organizational Success

By now many in the US and all over the world have heard about or viewed the video of the United Airlines passenger being forcibly taken off from the airplane.  Here is a real time example of how misalignment continues to be the true foil impeding organizational success.

As someone who avoids airline travel like the plague because of the hassle, it has been a long time since I actually read the policies stated when purchasing an airline ticket. Yet it is my current understanding, the policies do state that all seats are subject to certain conditions and passengers must follow the requests of airline employees.  Airlines reserve the right to remove passengers if for example the airplane is overbooked.

Where the misalignment reared its ugly head is in the communication specific to the lottery. The lottery was not for ALL passengers as it excluded first class and rewards passengers.(Source: Radio news)

When one reads United’s commitment to its customers (via website), United Airlines the following:

“Our goal is to make every flight a positive experience for our customers.”

This statement which I am presuming is to showcase United Airlines’ commitment to organizational success does not separate customers by first class, business, rewards or coach.  All customers are supposedly treated equal. Yet we now know this is not the case.

Additionally, the CEO “doubled down” on the incident and blamed the passenger.  Yes, the passenger was at fault for not following the policies of the purchased airline ticket.

However. United is not blameless and is in violation of its own commitment to customers. This misalignment will hurt its ongoing organizational success as its recent stock drop of 3.7% resulting in a loss of $830 million.

Misalignment is continues to be one of the true foils (usually undiagnosed) that impedes organizational success regardless of the organization’s size.  For both small to large organizations, often what happens is executive leadership takes a retreating position.  In this case, the CEO blamed the customer instead of addressing the real foil – misalignment.

To learn more about misalignment and its impact on organizational success, I recommended this book Fail-Safe Leadership. It is an easy read and provides questions at the end to prompt further discussion and reflection.

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Leadership Desired by Many, Sustainable by Few

Leadership, better yet effective leadership is the lynchpin, the catalyst, call it what you will for organizational success.  From all the books, presentations, firms devoted to leadership training, the results from two recent reports ( Brandon Hall Group and McKinsey) suggest leadership even though desired is not sustainable by current leadership development programs.

leadership-developmentIn spite of the investment of over $14 billion annually in the US, leadership development is still one of the top 3 current and future priorities. One of the most noticeable results is the impact on international business because of the absence of effective leaders.

The now here Silver Tsunami (retirement of baby boomers) is further cause for concern as these current leaders are leaving taking all their intellectual capital and common sense know how out the door.  There is no “send in the Calvary” to replace them.

After reading these two reports,  along with many others, they failed to understand why leadership continues to allude organizations in spite of the billions dollars being invested.

Yes, leadership development programs should grow from contextual experiences within the organization.  One size programs do not fit all.

Yes, there must be a formal learning structure and organizational alignment to current initiatives such as succession planning.

Yes, there must be time for application of new learned behaviors along with reflection.

Yes,  there must be changes in mindset or better yet beliefs.

Yes, results must be measured.

Yet the most overlooked reason for leadership development failure is leadership development is not a program.

Leadership development is a process, a continuum of self leadership first.

Programs have a beginning and an end.

A process goes on and on, being revised, updated, enhanced, ensuring better performance.

For human beings, sustainable behaviors must start from an inside out process where the current and future leaders begin to change internally and recognize leadership development begins with self leadership.

“If I cannot lead myself, I cannot lead anyone else.”

What is so ironic, so much money is devoted to determining why leadership development programs fail to deliver sustainable leaders and yet the premise is flawed from the onset of asking the question.

If you want organizational success by understanding how to construct a leadership development process, then this quick read Fail-Safe Leadership may help you start that journey.

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Aircraft Carriers, Change and Organizational Success

This morning I heard this statement:

Turning an aircraft carrier requires 5 miles

What this means from my non-nautical perspective is to turn an aircraft carrier successfully requires:

  • A predetermined course to ensure the turning does not collide with other ships, land masses, etc.
  • Allotment of time to ensure the turning of the aircraft carrier
  • Many resources human capital talent resources
  • Physical resources such as the fuel
  • Ongoing maintenance to ensure a successful turn


After compiling this mental list, I realized that aircraft carriers and organizations share the same change issues.

How many times does management attempt to make changes and expect them to be completed in an unrealistic time frame, without all the necessary resources, without a plan of action and without a thorough understanding of the organization’s culture?

Maintaining today’s status quo leaves management and thus the organization in a non-competitive position. No matter the size of any organization, making sustainable change is much like turning an aircraft carrier.

Those organizations who are successful in enacting sustainable change truly know they have the following in place:

  1. The right people
  2. In the right seats
  3. Using the right talents and resources
  4. Making the right decisions
  5. Achieving the right results
  6. Within the right time frame
  7. And within in the right environment

When we analyze turning an aircraft carrier, all of these 7Rs are present.  Yet when we examine the reason for failed sustainable change by management, my guess all 7Rs are not present or actively engaged.

Years ago Jay Galbraith designed the 5 Star Model for Organizational Success. This model provides incredible and simple clarity about why organizational success alludes so many businesses.

Also this model helps to me truly determine the real problems for the lack of sustainable change.  Sales Training Coaching Tip: Many problems such as the inability to increase sales are truly symptoms of more severe and hidden actual problems.

So if the management of your organization or if you are seeking organizational success through customer loyalty, increase sales, improve employee retention, new product release, higher profits, reduce resources or a highly engaged workforce, then remember it takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier or your organization.

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