A mere 7% of employees today fully understand their company's business strategies and what's expected of them in order to help achieve company goals.— Robert S. Kaplan
The most helpful Robert S. Kaplan quotes to discover and learn by heart
Without strong visionary leadership, no strategy will be executed effectively.
Consistent alignment of capabilities and internal processes with the customer value proposition is the core of any strategy execution.
Managing risk is very different from managing strategy.
Risk management focuses on the negative-threats and failures rather than opportunities and successes.
Screening out peer pressure and conventional wisdom.
It is so powerful, that most of us aren't even aware of how much it is influencing our decisions.
There are three main areas of focus: vision, priorities and alignment.
It is critical to articulate a clear vision - how do we add value based on what key competences? Some leaders fail to be clear enough or fail to update the vision based on changes in their industry and in the world.
The better strategy is to focus on strengths and surround yourself with people who can complement your skills. However, you have to first do the analysis.
Great companies create an environment in which employees act like owners.
They do this through clear communication, articulation of clear vision and priorities, coaching and openness to debate/discussion. I would argue that this type of environment helps people to be at their best - and helps the company to be at its best.
Rather than the word career, I prefer to discuss how you make a positive I pact on the world. This could mean raising your children, professional activities, non-profit work, or various other actions you take that impact others. I have found that, at all ages, people want to be needed and play a role in impacting the world.
Every person I meet is struggling with how to understand themselves and reach their full potential. No one has it fully figured out. It is a life long struggle - -there isn't a precise destination or arrival.
Vision and priorities should precede actions.
Actions should be judged through the prism of how the firm adds value and the key competencies it seeks to build.
Business and leadership is about the future.
What worked five years ago is unlikely to work tomorrow.
The vision must be realistic - it has to be based on clear distinctive competencies. Again, what would the world lose if you didn't exist? A vision is very powerful because it gives you a basis to judge every action you take. Every action should be viewed through the prism of whether it furthers the vision.
We have all had injustice happen to us.
It often shapes our failure narrative. For example, maybe you were fired and not you don't trust colleagues as easily in the future. You may not overcome injustice but you need to be aware of how it affects you today. You can't avoid injustice but that doesn't mean you need to be a prisoner of it.
It bears repeating: you don't have to be good at everything.
Reaching your potential is a disciplined process.
Like losing weight or getting in shape - there is no final destination and it requires you to dust off atrophied muscles. You have to work at it. If you do, I think you will dramatically improve your leadership.
As a leader, it is often better to ask the right questions and listen than to have all the answers.
You never do arrive at a destination.
You have to work at it and take ownership of the process. What resonates at age 25 is likely to change by age 35 and 45. The process never ends. Realizing this has been a big breakthrough for me.
Leadership is a team sport - learning to work with others is a critical skill.
This means articulating a clear vision, setting priorities, giving coaching, getting coaching and learning to seek advice from the team. All these activities
Authenticity is critical to leadership.
That means trying to be yourself - this involves some self-disclosure, admitting what you don't know and being willing to ask questions.
Passion is the rocket fuel that helps you perform at your best.
It helps you get through bad days, injustices, hardships and disappointments. It is hard to perform at a high level for a sustained period of time without passion for what you're doing.
Personal relationships are often based on affection - professional relationships can have affection but they must have mutual understanding, trust and respect.
If you're the smartest person in the room, it can sometimes be hard to learn to delegate - the person to whom you're delegating will do the task worse than you would - and it will annoy you!
There are multiple ways to solve a problem and add value.
There are seldom right answers. So, you've got to use your abilities to diagnose a situation and use your best judgment on what to do and how to do it. You WILL make mistakes - when you do, admit them and go back and try to fix them. I don't know is often the right answer.
I like films about people who figured out what they believed and had the guts to act on it in a way that added value to others. So, there are lots of movies that have characters who did that. I'll pick an odd one - Stranger Than Fiction because I really liked the movie - particularly the offbeat cookie maker. You'll have to see the movie to see what I mean. The movie also reinforces that you can be the author of your own script.
To help people with the struggle, I have to reveal my own struggles.
You're changing, the world is changing, and your hopes and aspirations are regularly being updated. That's why I say this is a life long struggle - for everybody.
There's a step that leaders need to take; they've got to understand themselves.
Step one is to take ownership of figuring strengths ans weaknesses out.
It starts with writing them down but, to take ownership, you have got to seek feedback of those who directly observe you - this is scary and uncomfortable for many people. It's no fun to hear negative feedback and most people don't want to stick their necks out to give it to you. So, you have to ask.
Process improvement programs are like teaching people how to fish.
Strategy maps and scorecards teach people where to fish.
Change efforts happen when a firm is out of alignment with achieving its vision.
If the organization has broad buy-in on a clear vision, the need for change becomes much clearer. It also helps to over-communicate what you're doing and why you're doing it. Lastly, the leadership needs to spend as much time on "how" changes are being made and "what" changes are being made. Human beings are involved and there are winners and losers.
Education has been critical. First at Kansas and then at Harvard Business School. It helped me build the confidence that I could go out and do things in the world. It taught me to put myself in the shoes of a decision maker and figure out what I would do if I were in his/her shoes. This is why I am a big believer in education as a foundation for reaching your unique potential.
I loved my career at Goldman Sachs. I believed in business principle number 1: if the client succeeds, our own success will follow. This principle formed the basis for my career and my leadership style.
Business education must constantly be changing and being updated to improve the quality of the student experience. On line courses will be a key part of supplementing course offerings and providing opportunities for life-long learning. Like any industry, business schools must continue to think and re-think how they add value to students and create thought leadership.
One reason leaders don't delegate is they haven't been sufficiently clear with the team regarding their vision and key priorities - so that the team understands where the firm is going. If everyone is on the same page, it's a lot easier to delegate effectively.