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What Every CEO needs to Prioritise

What Every CEO needs to Prioritise

We have a new government with new Ministers. Most corporate executives have renewed optimism about the chances of an economic turnaround for the country. Every organisation has its plans and strategy for the next few years. I know a lot of the leadership in organisations has prioritized major challenges in the environment but my view is that there is a lot internally that you can do to prepare your organisation for the challenges ahead.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have the right people in leadership and all key positions. This is one area most organisations take for granted but has huge consequences in how the organisation achieves its target. Do not compromise on who occupies key positions. Use the correct selection methods for identifying such people. Do not rely on qualifications and experience; they are not the best way to select people. Subject every candidate for key positions to psychometric assessment that covers both cognitive ability and personality. After this, they must go through Assessment centres. All successful organisations are taking this route. Your success as an organisation will depend on the quality of people in key positions. That alignment is not achieved by doing the same things that have not given you value before; it is achieved by using scientifically validated methods for selecting employees. Avoid the use of methods that are not validated regardless of their popularity.

The second priority should be your organisational culture. You can only ignore this at your own peril. Culture is a group phenomenon that deals with the collective programming of the mind. A dysfunctional culture is so powerful that they can derail even people touted as good performers with a very solid record from elsewhere. Dysfunctional cultures drain the energy out of the good performers. The first step is for you to understand your current culture and decide on whether that culture supports your vision. If the culture is not aligned with your vision, you need to build a new culture. That process starts with an assessment of the current culture and then a massive change program to build a new culture. Again, in this whole process, you need to work with scientifically validated instruments that are used to assess culture. The culture change program needs to be managed well, by involving every part of the organisation. As long as your organisational culture is misaligned to the vision you want to achieve, you are unlikely to achieve anything tangible regardless of the financial resources at your disposal.

The third priority should be performance management. You need to have a system of managing and reporting on performance that covers the whole organisation. Goals and targets need to be agreed for each individual and rigorously assessed frequently. The organisation needs a system of getting and reporting on performance feedback more frequently at organisational, business unit, department, and individual level. Without a credible performance measurement and management framework that is well coordinated, you may find that poor performers benefit from rewards and that is a situation that is not sustainable.

The last but not least priority is to redesign your reward system so that people are rewarded for value created. A continuation of the current practices where people get paid for showing up is not sustainable. As an organisation, you do not need a permission to do this as long as you are complying with the Labour statutes. Start paying people based on productivity and you can never go wrong on remuneration.

To be able to implement all the above changes you will need to deal with change. You will find pockets of resistance across the whole organisation. Plan for this resistance but go ahead anyway. The benefits that will accrue to the organisation are huge.

Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 0242 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

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