Roy's Blog: Leadership

August 7, 2017

Leaders: what you need to know about recruiting the best ones

The most critical role of a leader is to populate their organization with competencies required to deliver their strategic game plan.

Yes, academic pedigrees are important but they don’t represent the tipping point for successful performance.


These 14 competencies are those to covet in people. They represent basic human character and define the difference between a mediocre organization and a remarkable one.

1. Listening—you can’t discover what customers, employees and colleagues want and desire if you are not a 100% listener. Find those that like to hear themselves talk.

2. Apologizing—a successful recovery act after you have screwed a customer around (and every organization does sooner or later) begins with “I’m sorry”. Make sure you covet people who do this naturally. Some can’t. Some don’t want to. Organizations need to be human; stepping up to your faults is the beginning.

3. Respect for humans—creating memorable customer experiences is all about serving and taking care of people and it can’t be done if your people would rather be doing something else. If prospects don’t like humans, show them the door.

4. High pain tolerance—greatness doesn’t come without disappointment and pain along the way. If people can’t endure the pain associated with progress no significant advancements are ever made.

5. Desire to try—progress requires people always trying new stuff and failing along the way. That’s innovation. Look for people with a demonstrated track record of trying and learning from failure.

6. Mellow yellow—you really do need folks that react well under extreme pressure. STOP—PAUSE—THINK—RESPOND THOUGHTFULLY. It’s virtually impossible to train people in this. Hire for it.

7. Great memory—a good memory will go a long way to dazzling a customer. It shows you paid attention the last time you connected with the person. It shows you care enough to remember. And it’s a competitive advantage for the organization.

8. Nano-inch seeker—progress is made by executing the game plan of the organization flawlessly, inch-by-inch-by-inch. There are few silver bullets that result in quantum leaps. Look for people who have demonstrated the capability to “get an inch of progress” FAST.

9. Lifelong learning—if people aren’t always learning something new, how can they help the organization innovate move forward? They can’t. Look for evidence that prospects are constant learners and have a passion for probing the unknown.

10. Infecting—the ability to “infect others” with the virus of your strategic intent is critical in terms of executing it. Some people have the interest, passion and tenacity to get others excited about advancing the cause. This is an invaluable asset. Remarkable results are created through energy and passion, not from pondering.

11. Making friends—deep customer relationships and loyalty are the result of trusted relationships built over time. If a prospect has a shallow friend network, ask why. It could be they don’t value relationships. Stay clear.

12. Storytelling—stories “breathe life” into a strategy. They paint pictures of what it looks like when the plan is being successfully executed in the field. You need people who can “light peoples’ eyes up” with a story about some aspect of your strategy. Talk the event. Talk the person. Talk…..

13. Simple thinking —great performance originates with simplicity. Execution is simplicity. Elegance that can’t be implemented is worthless. Think simple. Find simple. Discover folks with the natural ability to dumb things down.

14. Connecting with others—results are produced through processes working ACROSS the organization through a team of people working together to get the job done. This requires the ability to connect with others and build effective relationships with them.

The real important competencies to covet are basic human skills because it’s people that make organizations successful.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 8.7.17 at 05:37 am by Roy Osing
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July 31, 2017

5 simple reasons I don’t listen when you speak

It’s not about what you are saying; it’s about the experience I have when your words hit me.

Why don’t I listen?

1. Your message is irrelevant to me; I don’t particularly CARE about your topic.
People listen when your topic stimulates their emotions; when they FEEL your words. You might love your subject because you think it is intellectually interesting, but if it doesn’t touch me in an emotional way I tune you out.
You didn’t do your homework on what I want to hear. Your topic choice will either make or break my response.

2. You are like every other speaker who came before you.
There is nothing particularly special about your “performance” (and it IS a performance). There is nothing endearing about you; if I close my eyes you could be anyone; you are forgettable because you don’t stand-out from the “speaker herd”.
You look, talk and perform like every other speaker before you. You’re insipid and boring.

Don't listen

3. You are a “stiff” on stage.
Your stage presence is too formal and you exhibit no free-styling ability. You are monotonic and frigid in your delivery. You are chained to the podium or some other device which protects you from the audience “hordes”.
You appear to have no energy and passion for your topic. You appear to be anxiously awaiting the end of your ordeal. I feel uncomfortable for you and wonder why you do what you appear not to enjoy.

4. Your message doesn’t “flow from your veins”.
It doesn’t have a natural expression that exudes confidence from me. I don’t feel comfortable that you really know your material and that you are sold on it. You appear to be sharing someone else’s message as opposed to your own personal convictions.

5. You’ve obviously never been criticized for speaking too loudly
“Volume of voice” is a strength possessed by awesome speakers. They project themselves in the room so well they sometimes are criticized for shouting. Of course their passion and exuberance over their material are misunderstood by some as overbearing; but that can be forgiven.
Your timidity mask unfortunately dilutes your stage presence and prevents me from truly engaging with you.

Making a positive impact on me is all about establishing an emotional bond between you and I in the little time we have together.

Your challenge is to deliver a superlative performance and leave me wanting more.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.31.17 at 05:03 am by Roy Osing
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July 24, 2017

What are the 5 most important decisions fantastic leaders make?

As a leader, you do have a choice as to how you spend your decision-making time; there are numerous possibilities when it comes to which decisions to make yourself and those that you leave for others.

How do you determine the “my decision” areas?

The criteria I used was payback. Where could I add the greatest value to the organization?


It’s not about what you enjoy doing or where your strengths are; it’s about where OTHERS will realize the maximum benefit if you focus your decision-making time there.

You may be amazing at financial analysis and enjoy dabbling in numbers, but if marketing is a critical element of the organization’ strategic plan, for example, you need to leave financials to someone else and re-vector your decision-making efforts.

Decide on these 5 strategic issues. These must be owned by the leader and no one else.

1. The strategic game plan for the organization.
Leadership value starts with deciding on the organization’s future. And it should be created by the leader and not chosen from a number of options submitted by management.
What business you intend to be in and how you intend to differentiate yourself from your competition can only be decided by the leader who is directly accountable to ownership. It’s not something you can delegate to business development folks.

2. The values that shape culture. Values describe how employees behave with each other “on the inside” and externally with customers.
The leader must decide on the values critical to their strategic success and they must make the call on eliminating the traditional values that are no longer appropriate.

3. The talent that gets recruited. Strategy and values are the determinants of the people you recruit.
The leader must have their fingerprints on the “people strategy”. They must decide if it will do the job; it can’t be delegated to human resources. The wrong people in critical roles will drive your strategy to fail.
I used to participate in candidate interviews; an excellent way to monitor how your expectations are being met, as well as a great learning experience for the other managers in the room.

4. The “customer moment” architecture. If the leader isn’t personally involved in defining what the customer transaction with the organization “looks like”, dysfunction results; everyone does their own thing and offers up their own version of serving the customer in an exemplary manner. The leader must decide what the moment looks like at the frontline level where customer perception is controlled.
Leaders don’t like to engage at this level of detail, but this micro-managing is essential.

5. Aligning activities with the game plan. Aligning activities is where most things go wrong. The strategy says one thing but the people in the various functions behave in a manner inconsistent with the chosen direction. The leader must decide on an alignment plan developed by every department in the organization; it’s the only way synergy is guaranteed.

Strategy, values, people, customers and organizational synergy. What could be more important to decide on for a leader?


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.24.17 at 05:06 am by Roy Osing
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July 17, 2017

How to build an amazing strategy in 3 simple steps

Traditional business planning methods are seriously flawed

They are generally viewed as a time consuming and expensive process. People don’t look forward to it; it’s not a “fun” experience.

My strategic game plan process is simple. Answer 3 questions and you have your strategy.

1. HOW BIG do you want to be?

2. WHO to SERVE?

3. HOW do you intend to COMPETE and WIN?

1. HOW BIG? The process starts out with determining your growth goals. how much top line revenue do you want to generate over the next 24 months?
Revenue is the best measure of growth because it is an expression of how the market “feels” about you; it is easily measured understood.
A 24-month planning period forces you to execute TODAY and not wait for the “hockey stick” to happen in year 4 of a traditional 5-year plan. 

HOW BIG drives the strategy. The bolder the growth goal the more aggressive and risky the strategy required to deliver it.
For example, a strategy to generate a 50% increase in revenue would be significantly different that one designed to produce a 10% increase.

2. WHO to SERVE? The second step in the process is to chose the customers you intend to serve. Pick customer groups that have the latent potential to deliver your revenue goals and leverage the competencies of your organization.

And be prepared to dump the customers that are no longer part of your strategic focus.
Keeping them will only drain your resources and waste your time with no economic return.

3. HOW to WIN? The third step is the most critical in establishing your game plan. This is where you decide how to differentiate yourself from others who are competing with you for the auto era you are targeting.

Engage your team in creating the ONLY statement for your organization. ONLY defines exactly how your organization intends to be different from your competitors, and it reads: “We are the ONLY ones that…”
ONLY sets you apart from others by stating what you do that no one else does - the real way to claim a unique competitive position in the marketplace.

When creating your ONLY, avoid aspirational thinking And be granular and detailed in crafting your ONLY. Aspirations merely capture lofty intent and have no place in thinking about your competitive position.

This is not a task for the faint-of-heart. It is difficult to do and involves looking at every nook and cranny in your organization for opportunities to separate yourselves from the pack - brand, service, product, product support, and how you leverage technology are some examples of where you can look to create your ONLY Statement.

Integrate the answers to all three questions and you have your game plan.

“We will grow revenues from $20 million in 2017 to $50 million by Dec 31, 2019. We will focus our scarce resources on insurance and fleet providers in Canada. We will compete and win by being the ONLY distracted driving application that cannot be turned off by the driver of a vehicle.”

There you go. A game plan that is specific, crisp, simple and understandable.

That is focused on execution - develop your strategic game plan in less than 2 days and begin executing on the 3rd.


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  • Posted 7.17.17 at 04:10 am by Roy Osing
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