One out of every two Inc. 5000 CEOs surveyed has the qualities of a "Creative Builder CEO" (see Inc.'s 2012 CEO survey). If you match those characteristics, you are similar to iconic leaders like Steve Jobs, not the worst company to keep for sure. However, in my experience there are some unintended consequences of this leadership approach.
See if any of these statements resonate with you:
Sound familiar? If so, you're probably familiar with the urge to get "back to the basics," too. I have heard this phrase in all of its formats countless times from the mouths of CEOs who see the remarkable potential of their companies thwarted by seemingly small hurdles. Declaring that you need to get back to basics may be a well-intentioned first step, but it's not actionable or sustainable in the long run.
So before you take that leap into the re-systemization of tasks and punch listing of performance (both of which have real benefits), I encourage you first to make certain that the underlying "basics" of your business are in place. The basics must capture the essence of excellence that drives all other behaviors.
"Act as if your loved one is on the (operating) table."--IMS, Integrated Medical Systems (surgical and laparoscopic device repair, efficiency of operating room instrumentation, sterile processing management and consulting)
"Great food. Clean place. Friendly service."--The Garden Café in Omaha
"Any size, any shape, any time, any place, always right, every day."--Langham Logistics (3PL and 4PL freight logistics and transportation)
These simple examples of guiding precepts give a clear standard against which all decisions, procedures, and policies inside of those companies can be tested. Here are three tips to develop your own:
More dashboards, punch lists, and training are not enough to overcome shortfalls in your organization's performance of the basics. You need the driving essence to be defined, understood, and measured.