Interim Executive Resources

Building Businesses That Run Themselves; Part II – The Leadership Factor

Building Businesses That Run Themselves is about developing a capability in your organization to perform at high levels.  Part I – The Foundation Effect integrates vintage management tools and provides a framework for identifying and removing barriers to high performance.  Its basic message is that you need to describe in adequate detail what you want your business to do and then let your people go do it.

However, simply defining a good foundation for your business is not the only action that is required to get a business into high gear.  If that were the case, then reading a book and regurgitating the formula would result in stellar companies.  It is obviously not as simple as that. There are other factors that come into play.

In addition to having a good foundation for your business, it is imperative to have leadership commensurate to the task at hand.  And this leadership has multiple responsibilities towards building high performance.  Building Businesses That Run Themselves; Part II – The Leadership Factor goes into tremendous detail on the roles of leadership within a business.  Here is a basic synopsis.

Leadership job #1 is establishing basic business definition. Just what does this business exist for?  Who are the customers?  What style of business is needed?  Getting very clear on this primary responsibility sets the stage for downstream business performance.

Jobs #2 and #3 are building the Strategic Cascade and the Commitment Culture elements.  How does the business work and what does it feel like to customers and employees.  Doing good jobs here impacts the perspective, connection, autonomy and tone required by individuals and for groups to attain high levels of performance.

It must be realized that in addition to these Performance Framework responsibilities, the leaders in the organization are commissioned with observing, understanding and remedying barriers to high performance on an ongoing basis.  You may have the perfect business definition and an amazingly effective framework, but in the end, you fill the framework with real people with real skills and real personalities and the people need to be developed and molded into the roles they need to play.

Additionally, it is not acceptable in this fast paced world to build a static framework that is expected to stand the test of time.  Periodic review of framework elements should be accomplished by the leadership team to keep them fresh, aligned, and helping the business move forward effectively.

Finally, the leadership team itself has a responsibility to continuously hone its skills and capabilities and improve over time.   Leadership is not immune to the performance model.  In order to evolve the business forward on an ongoing basis, leaders need to pay attention to their own perspective, connection, autonomy, and tone.

The great thing about building a business that runs itself is that leaders may actually get time for these critical leadership maintenance tasks.  If the business is successful on its own right, then leaders should pay attention to steering the business away from trouble spots and towards opportunity.  If they don’t have a business that runs itself, the leadership team is continually fighting fires. They get sucked into the urgent and forget about the important.


Other Building Businesses That Run Themselves books:

Part I – The Foundation Effect

Part III – Vivid Value Creation

NOTE:  Part II – The Leadership Factor is not yet available.