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How Strategic Are you?

By Tony Misura

How Strategic Are you?

LBM presidents love to talk strategy. When they do, I like to ask a question that separates elite leaders from the crowd: “What role do job descriptions play in your strategic plan?”

Most presidents respond by dismissing job descriptions as an unimportant human resources administrative task. They then quickly stress that their “entrepreneurial culture” is one where their people “just know what to do, and our field leaders are great at communicating verbally.”

“You see, Tony,” they conclude. “Our day-to-day business changes too much to have job descriptions.”

That’s when I throw my hand grenade: “That’s great to hear, LBM President. It sounds like you have an amazing team. So, what was your strategic plan in 2023 and how is it different than the 2024 plan?”

A highly self-aware president will be silent, then curious. Others will spread more BS. Truth is, for these lesser leaders, there really is no difference in their strategic plan other than the amount dust it has collected. Such plans are as vague as a zodiac personality profile.

If you’re operating in a dynamic, complex environment that changes day to day, a job description is even more crucial.

Job descriptions should set standards in three areas:

Time: Efficiently using a worker’s most critical resource time, including guides for re-ranking daily activities when the worker is under pressure.

Engagement: Ensuring each team member understands the overall company strategy and how their role makes a key contribution.

Leading Up: Creating a feedback loop for higher-level leaders to make sure the team member has the optimal 20% of their time working on long-term goals.

“There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. “—Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

Leaders agree with Jack's quote. What they often miss is the power of the sequence and priorities. If team members are highly engaged, customer satisfaction and cash flow happen organically. But it takes work teaching each team member empowerment and how to self-measure their clearly defined job metrics. Many leaders let fear take over, and only read “cash flow” and take a top-down leadership P&L only approach- leaving their team members uniformed, ignorant and disengaged.

Building products distribution is brutal. It’s common for team members to be lost in today’s operational firefight, then suffer through the same Ground Hog Day tomorrow. To avoid that, these workers need a declaration of expectations.

Clear job descriptions should go beyond words to include numbers, such as projected percentages of time allowed for each area of responsibility. Doing so creates an opportunity for feedback loops between team members and leadership and is the basis for enacting continuous improvement steps that will vary by the employee. High performers will need increased transparency and communication. B-level talent that wants to be a high performer will plead for more training and development. Perpetual C talent under performers will leave or accept lower compensation.

Strategic planning is the easy part. Strategic deployment is what distinguishes great leaders. And speed of deployment is the chosen measure of elite leaders.

“Best practice is to set strategy, then organization, then KPI’s.  A lot of strategic deployments break down in the gaps that appear when organization doesn’t match the strategy.” Job descriptions are the underpinnings of a well-defined organization” Kendall Hoyd, Misura Group’s Strategy Deployment Consultant

What are the key signs you and your team need an Elite Strategic Deployment Training Session?

  • Do you have a shortage of Outside Sales professionals, Delivery Drivers, or Truss/wall/EWP Designers?

  • Do you have a solid succession plan for your top 3 most critical leadership positions?

  • Has your unique competitive value proposition improved since 2019?

Misura Group is excited to offer training and development support for the Building Product Supply Chain leaders. Our library of job descriptions and past LBM CEOs leading our consulting efforts is a powerful combination.

Hire Smarter™ Tony Misura

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