Direction by financial performance
Figure 8, below, shows the scores for the direction questions by financial performance. A few observations emerge from this data.
1. Very high performing firms score highest on all direction questions.
2. Comparing high performing firms to average or below average shows high performing scoring lower on individual and team scores but higher on linking individual priorities to business strategy.
3. This data indicates that direction is the link to higher performance and that linking
individual priorities to business strategy may be the most important element in driving high performance?
Direction by job level
Figure 6, below, shows the scores for the direction questions by job level. A few observations emerge from this data.
1. Senior leader positions have the highest scores on direction.
2. The higher the position the higher the score on direction, except for the CEO.
3. CEO’s are the lowest scoring for senior leaders. Does this indicate CEO’s do a better job of providing direction to their teams than the board of directors provides to the CEO?
4. If direction drives performance, then there is a high cost for direction scores falling as you move down the company hierarchy. This suggest performance improvement can be achieved by additional directional communication at the lower levels of the hierarchy.
Figure 7, below, plots clarity of individual priorities and goals versus clarity of team priorities and goals for job level and financial performance. This shows senior management and very high performing firms have clear team and individual direction. If we learn to move this clarity to lower level positions in the hierarchy and if low performing firms spend more time on direction clarity, we would expect to see higher performance as a result.
• Energy has stabilized at 7 out of the10 point scale and is at its highest level since we began reporting in 2003.
• Overall, energy is still below where leaders say they are most productive and over 52% of the respondents are more than one point away from where they say they are at their best. This group is at risk of low performance.
• Leader confidence dropped slightly to 3.58 after being stable for the last three years at 3.61. The biggest drops in confidence were in the strategy making process (-9) and the leadership team overall (-4).
• Direction dropped from the prior survey. The data indicates direction is a key component in driving high performance, so this drop is troubling.
• There continues to be a high opportunity cost indicated by a continued high energy gap, lower leader confidence and a drop in direction. This opportunity cost may result in organizations being less agile and unable to act on opportunities or weather financial or regulatory challenges.
• Actions for energizing leaders and non-leaders, improving communicating direction especially at lower levels of the organization should reduce this opportunity cost.
Data Driven Leadership Learning!
Additionally, any participant can sign up their teams (direct reports) and receive overall group reports. The teams can be up to 100 people. The group reports consist of aggregate data, so the leaders cannot see responses from individuals. The team pulse has been an important benefit for leaders who are interested in data-driven learning. Their teams can attend the knowledge sharing webinars, and they can learn not only from their own results but from what other leaders are doing in response to the challenges discovered in the learning.