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Leadership and Resourcing

Leadership and Resourcing

It’s not what you have, but what you’re able to make out of what you have that matters. Every great leader understands the importance of creating leverage via proper resource allocation. The best leaders possess an innate understanding of how to create resources where none exist – they know how to deploy and redeploy resources to maximize opportunities and to minimize risk. So my question to you is this; are you over-resourced, under-resourced, resource aligned, or do you even know? In today’s post I’ll look at the topic of resourcing as a key success metric for anyone in a leadership position.

If you think CEO means chief everything officer, your tenure in the C-suite won’t be long. Attempting to do everything yourself is nothing short of a recipe for disaster as a CEO, and in fact, is exactly the opposite of how top performing CEOs think. Furthermore, the best CEOs consistently spend time contemplating how not to do things themselves. Let me be clear that I’m not advocating an abdication of responsibility, but rather an understanding of highest and best use of financial, human, and technology resources.

The essence of Leadership is not found in doing things yourself, but in teaching others how to do things better than you ever could. Leadership is about teaching, coaching, developing, and mentoring. Leadership has nothing to do with hoarding knowledge, but everything to do with distributing knowledge. Without leveraging down it is virtually impossible for a CEO to create any real velocity or momentum in growing the enterprise.

It has been my observation that when deadlines are missed, or important initiatives don’t get off the ground, it is usually an issue of poor resource management. When I hear CEOs say things like “I didn’t have time” or “I didn’t have the necessary resources” I only have one question: Why not? When I hear a CEO complain about a lack of revenue growth while maintaining a small sales force supported by paltry marketing investments, I’m left shaking my head in wonderment at how such a huge blind spot could possibly exist. You see if the project/initiative was worth planning and implementing, it should have been worth resourcing.

As a CEO, if you couldn’t resource the project you either had a flaw in your planning process, you misunderstood or misapplied your talent, or you should have never started the project/initiative to begin with. The most successful CEOs are like the corporate version of MacGyver in that they can overcome any obstace with whatever resources they have at their immediate disposal. If you expect miracles from your under-resourced staff you are likely to be disappointed. However if you expect great things from an appropriately resourced staff, you will be consistently rewarded. If you continually stretch your resource rubber band too tightly, trust me when I tell you that it will eventually snap.

Here’s the big takeaway – As a CEO, your goal is not to see how much you can get out of your people, but rather how much leverage you can create for your people…there is a big difference.

On the flip side of the coin is being over-resourced…overspending is not the same thing as making prudent investments. Just throwing money and resources at a problem is not a solution…it simply constitutes unnecessary margin erosion. Overspending is a tactic for the lazy or the incompetent. The trick is to throw the right talent, and the appropriate investment at a challenge in a fashion that creates a certainty of execution while still generating return on investment.

The bottom line is this – apply your best talent and the lion’s share of your operating capital towards exploiting your greatest opportunities or toward solving your greatest challenges. Everything else is majoring in minors…

Thoughts?

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    Ross Paterson

    March 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    The most important decisions leaders make are  ‘who does what.’  Get that right and everything else seems to fall in place.  Of course these decisions are often extremely complex, so having the insight to do this well is why the good CEOs are compensated well. 

    Having lived in large corporations in America in my past I have definitely experienced the “how much can you get out of your people” mentality.  The distinction you draw here is profound.  When I evaluate the best leaders I have worked for they were in the “how much leverage can you create FOR your people” camp.

    Thanks as always for great insight.

      Avatar

      Mike Myatt

      March 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment and your observations Ross. I appreciate your experience and find it to be aligned with what I’ve witnessed over the years. 

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    Anuj Varma

    March 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Great article. I have something I call ‘The vacation test’ of leadership. If you, the leader, were to go on an extended vacation, how would your team perform? This test gets to the crux of a leader’s key role – to build a great team – and empower them. The article above touched on a lot of the same themes.
    http://www.anujvarma.com/leadership-the-vacation-test/ 

      Avatar

      Mike Myatt

      March 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing “the vacation test” theory. While not a new principle, it is a very sound test that most organizations won’t do as well on as they think they will. I spent all of last week in the hospital, and quite frankly, we didn’t do as well as I’d hoped we would. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my team, and it was far from a train wreck, but we also learned a few things along the way which will help us to do better should a similar circumstance arise in the future. Thanks for sharing the valuable lesson. 

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    PoulAndreassen

    March 9, 2012 at 4:06 am

    The
    uniqueness of your article is indeed something that is influential in
    nature if probed deeply, it eventually got connected to leadership
    and I realized it in my instincts.

    It
    is true”apply your best talent and the lion’s
    share of your operating capital towards exploiting your greatest
    opportunities or toward solving your greatest challenges. Everything
    else is majoring in minors… ”

    Thanks
    for sharing it in such a delightful manner..!
     

      Avatar

      Mike Myatt

      March 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Thanks Poul – I always appreciate hearing from you. Best wishes for continued success Sir. 

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    Skip Prichard

    March 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Mike, excellent post. And I agree. I would also add that this isn’t just for CEO’s. Anyone in the organization can help create leverage.  It’s not what you can get out of your CEO, but what leverage you can create. I often find that future leaders self-identify when he or she creates that leverage, and makes it happen.

      Avatar

      Mike Myatt

      March 11, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Thanks Skip. Your insight shares a keen perspective missed by many. I appreciate you adding value to the thought stream.

    Avatar

    Mike Myatt

    March 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for your kind words Scott. I agree with you that many companies fail to take full advantage of internet marketing opportunities, especially those available through social media/networking. The social web has long passed the proof of concept test, but it is also far from being passé. It will continue to evolve and become an even bigger part of how business is done in the future. Organizations who fail to embrace this thinking will simply cede opportunity to those who do. Thanks for sharing Scott.

    Avatar

    thomas

    October 19, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Good read!!! Some great questions and responces – very informative. I have saved this in my bookmarks for future reference.

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