Roy's Blog: December 2017

December 25, 2017

What is the toughest challenge a leader faces today?

If the leader of an organization can’t successfully execute, it will languish and eventually die.

It really doesn’t matter how intellectually brilliant their strategy is, or how cleverly the composed plan integrates the toolset advocated by the pundits,  if it can’t be implemented it’s worth nothing.

Leaders can’t assume that execution will happen by declaring the new direction to the organization and expecting that people will know what to do, they they will want to do it and that they will do it.

WHAT TO DO - the strategy needs to be translated right down to the individual who requires an intimate understanding of what actions they need to take to execute on the organization’s chosen path.

It’s one thing to shout out the intent to “unleash the power of the internet” to marketing, for example, but without providing the product, customer segment and application focus, marketers won’t know what specific programs to develop to make it happen.

Leader challenge

And furthermore, if clarity around what marketing should stop doing is not provided, the move forward will be dysfunctional, inefficient and unproductive. Hanging on to the past while at the same time trying to take on a new future is an impossible role for anyone to assume.

WANT TO DO - the leader must provide the motivation for employees to want to adopt the new course. Rather than tell everyone “this is where we’re going”, the leader must sell their decision if they want people to be personally invested in supporting it. Employees must see the new future as exciting and cool in a way that gets them emotionally hooked on the idea.

They need to be more than intellectually convinced; they need to be emotionally “all in” because that is where they raw energy comes from to willingly take the action needed to move forward.

WILL TO DO - the leader must be the strategy hawk that takes personal responsibility to see that results are delivered through their teams in the organization. This is all about monthly measuring key performance indicators, taking immediate action to close any gaps and celebrating any successes where target have been exceeded.

Leader challenge2

This is the time to recognize the achievements of the heroes who have gone above and beyond expectations to deliver results.

It is Interesting that a leader is expected to have an academic pedigree that can be paraded around to shareholders and public with the implied message that these credentials will take the organization to lofty heights. That “knowing stuff” will drive superlative performance.

This is simply not the case.

Organizations perform well when they execute well in an environment where randomness, unpredictability and chaos govern the agenda and where nothing turns out according to plan.

It’s about time we started describing the brilliant leaders of the day in terms of their execution credentials and the power they have demonstrated to harness the hearts and souls of individuals to drive forward in uncharted waters.

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 12.25.17 at 04:49 am by Roy Osing
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December 18, 2017

How to build a résumé that will knock their socks off

I have reviewed a ton of résumés over my 33+ year career as an executive leader; most of them are not very well done; they all look the same.

Most people research the templates that are out there and select the boiler plate they think is the best. This normally means the one that is the quickest and easiest to complete!

There are two “moments of truth” when you submit your résumé to an organization.

The first is when the human resources folks get it. This is the 3rd party bottleneck you must pass through if you want a shot at the person who is filling the position. HR people don’t really have a detailed knowledge of what the position requires.

Socks off

They are assessing the incoming résumés from a position outline provided by the hiring manager. How is your résumé going to capture the HR guy’s attention if it doesn’t stand out from the others; if it isn’t special and unique in some way?

The second moment of truth is when the hiring manager gets your résumé and decides whether or not to invite you in for an interview. Now the scrutiny is at a much more granular level in terms of your background and qualifications.

Again, if your résumé is no different than everyone else’s why should you earn the right to a face to face meeting?

Before you engage with any organization to explore opportunities, you need a résumé strategy.

The process most people use is to shop their look-alike résumé around to the organizations that appear to have an opportunity available. They flog themselves with the hope that their capabilities will somehow resonate with the recipient. This approach has a low probability of success.

Here are the 4 steps to develop your résumé strategy.

1. Be clear on your target market; Those organizations that you are interested in whether they have a current opening or not. Name them; be as specific as you can.

2. Research each organization thoroughly. Determine as best you can what their strategy is; the challenges they face. This will give you insights on the skills and competencies they may require.


3. Build a customized version of your résumé for each organization you approach. Don’t flog your boiler plate résumé to as many organizations as you can. It’s about customizing a version of your résumé that addresses the specific needs of each company and the attributes they require. If you are interested in 10 companies, you should prepare 10 versions of your resume.

4. Answer the question “Why should I hire you and not the 100 other applicants for this position?” This is always the killer question given the many other people interested in the same opportunity. The answer can’t be vague. It should declare as specifically as possible why YOU and no one else should be recruited. It can’t be, for example, “I have significant marketing experience”; many others could (and will) make the same claim.

The way to do this is to create your personal ONLY Statement — “I am the ONLY one that…” This will clearly communicate the unique value you offer relative to others.

Remember, you are marketing yourself; your résumé must make you stand-out in the crowd.

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 12.18.17 at 03:27 am by Roy Osing
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December 11, 2017

Why the best competitive advantage is reacting

Traditional business strategy methods give us many tools and techniques to build “the perfect plan”.

It offers structure in the SWOT process. It provides analysis in demand and forecasting models. It provides decision-making frameworks to assess the merits of various alternatives.

It’s a mature discipline that has definitely helped organizations chart a course for their future.

That said, I have two issues with it.


1. Traditional planning is far too complicated; too expensive; too time consuming in relation to the benefits realized and it raises the false expectaion that the strategy will actually work as planned in a world full of rapid change and unpleasant surprises.

If the essence of the strategy can’t be counted on to succeed why don’t we simplify the planning process so that it is not overly onerous and complicated? So that it is expedient and not costly?

I have seen the folly of relying exclusively on this old school approach that gives the planner the false impression that the complexity of the approach increases the chances of its success.

This alternative has been road tested in the real world. Dumb down the strategy building process, get your plan just about right and execute it better than your competitors.

2. The traditional approach says virtually nothing about the principle of response. Successful companies are brilliant at reacting to surprise events they did not anticipate and those that are unable to adapt struggle and die.

How many strategies have you seen unfold the way you originally planned? I have seen none; it is the impossible dream!

The principle of response is the essence of the practice of planning on the run: Plan - Execute - Learn - RESPOND (Adjust) - Execute….


The essentials of planning in response to unexpected forces:

1. Keep the strategy building process simple. Cut the time to devote to developing your strategy in half to make room for more attention to implementation. Get your direction right. Be ok with “heading west”. Precision is your enemy.

2. Get to the real GUT issues you are facing. Forget about complicated mathematical formulae to help you understand the challenges you face. This is not an intellectual exercise.
Declare the three issues keeping you up at night that you must address in order to survive and thrive in an unpredictable world.

3. Plot a course of action. Spend copious amounts of time figuring out how you intend to implement your statement of direction. Assign accountability and specific timeframes to deliver results.

4. Execute! Execute! Execute! Bear down on getting results however you can. It doesn’t have to be elegant as long as you’re getting stuff done. And make sure everyone in the organization clearly understands what they have to do to support the execution plan; people doing their own thing is a nonstarter.

5. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Meticulously monitor and analyze results to discover what you should do more of and what you should stop doing.

6. React to your results and adjust your direction. Tweek your plan based on how effective your execution is and move on quickly. Keep your feet moving.

Remarkable organizations have a “reasonable” plan, but their competitive advantage is that they react to unexpected change better than anyone else.

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 12.11.17 at 04:23 am by Roy Osing
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December 4, 2017

9 clever things average leaders do that make themselves remarkable

Why are some leaders mediocre while others are wildly successful? Exactly what differentiates the leader that their followers “love” from the one who may have subordinates but no followers?

Over my 30+ year business journey I have witnessed and reported to many different leaders; some brilliant and some not so much.

My conclusion is that those who constantly deliver superlative performance through passionate and turned on teams have a very specific profile.

1. They are of “average” intelligence; NOT superstar intellectuals. Their academic pedigree satisfies the entry requirements to climb the ladder and they view it that way - the ante to play the leadership game.

2. They acquire a repertoire of practical skills from their experience. They build it by actively engaging in the implementation activities of their organization’s strategy. This allows them to be able to solve a range of problems that others without implementation depth cannot.

Practical skills

3. Their stable of mentors is broad and deep. They are able to draw on a vast resource base of skills and experience to support them and provide advice.

4. They are strategic micromanagers. They pick and choose the “hills” that require their personal involvement as the leader and they dive in. They don’t believe in across-the-board delegation; particularly in matters dealing with serving customers. They personally “paint a picture” in great detail to all employees of what they expect the customer experience to look like.

5. They spend copious amounts of time with the frontline. Gathering feedback from the people who are key to executing the organization’s strategy is a top priority to them, and frontline employees continually witness the leader’s presence in their workplace - listening, asking questions, taking notes.

6. They are consummate communicators. They are able to draw emotional support from people by presenting their vision and values in a compelling and passionate way. And they are “in the faces” of employees regularly, reporting on the progress of their strategy and stressing what action needs to be taken in the short term to improve performance.


7. They never break a promise. They do what they say, and influence others to adopt the same behaviour as a fundamental organizational value. And ultimately this treatment is manifested in how customers are served and forms a vital component of their competitive strategy.

8. They are effective at letting go. They treat eliminating work that is no longer relevant to their strategy with the same priority as adopting new challenges. They close the doors on new hires until they can be satisfied that no further “CRAP” can be eliminated.

9. They thrive on imperfection. They understand that seeking the perfect solution consumes time and energy that could be applied to implementing and learning. They emphasize that “doing stuff” and learning on the run is more important than over-studying and risk aversion.

“Made to lead” is not for everyone; it requires noncompliance with many accepted norms of leadership. The thing is, its fundamentals create vibrant cultures and brilliant performance.

So why would any leader want to be “normal”?

Cheers, Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

SalesPOP! an online sales magazine

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  • Posted 12.4.17 at 03:44 am by Roy Osing
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