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Teams who are ready, willing and able to execute with vigour are most valued when it comes to executing on strategic plans, yet not many leadership teams have a measure in place to gauge the effectiveness of their work beyond the bottom line, which is by all means a lagging measure. The measure of Boards and Executive teams is changing to include the effectiveness of their impact on their team to perform ethically. In this article CEO and CEO coach Roh Singh shares some of his findings on being an effective leader.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast is a great sound bite, which has had many leaders think deeply and invest just as deeply in an attempt at establishing a winning culture.

Management guru Peter Drucker once said that "No matter how well thought out your competitive strategy is, if the people in your organisation aren’t ready, able and willing to put it into action, it’s worthless."

So as an effective CEO you must be asking the question just how ready, able and willing are your people to actualise the vision of the organisation? Do you have measures in place to gauge the readiness, ability and will of your people to execute on the strategies you and your leadership team have developed?

The 2020 Populis Leadership Framework™️ effectiveness study conducted in collaboration with Macquarie University Graduate program included Populis' Leadership Framework™️ self-assessment interviews with over 50 Australian company leaders. This study found that on an average Australian companies were operating at less than 74% of their potential.

United States General George S. Patton once declared that “a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week".

Such confidence in leadership as General Patton is rare, however can be found in organisations where there is great self-awareness, accountability and a track record of success that comes from one's ability to execute with pace and win. Easier said than done, especially in established risk averse organisations and those where group think in prevalent. Every CEO should now be asking which of these two types of company culture are they responsible for?

The triggers that initiate leadership effectiveness self-assessments include:

  • Underwhelming or downturn in performance

  • Aggressive growth targets

  • A poor governance record

  • Business Transformation

  • Fresh CEO appointed

  • Poor staff engagement scores

  • What are the areas to focus on when conducting a self diagnostic on your effectiveness as a CEO?

At Populis, we utilise our award-winning Leadership Framework™️ that guides leaders through 50 critical areas for great performance and governance under the following 5 categories:

  1. Leadership principles that optimise strategy formation for ethical growth through the actualisation of the company vision;

  2. Leadership principles that enhance an organisational culture which empowers ethical high performance through innovation, accountability and action;

  3. Leadership principles which enable efficiencies through excellence in business processes;

  4. Leadership principles that attract top talent, maximise staff engagement and loyalty; allow people to be their best, find purpose and happiness in their work;

  5. Leadership which serves the organisations vision, its customers and community ahead of selfish gains;

9 leadership tips to developing an ethically high-performing culture where people turn up as their best - ready, able and willing to go all in to realise the organisations vision of success:

  1. Know your self. Understand the impact of your leadership on your company's strategy, people, culture, processes and leadership. Conduct a leadership effectiveness deep dive diagnostic. Involve your key stakeholders in the diagnostic process in a manner where they feel like they are able to honestly share without repercussions on specific areas of your organisation and leadership. And openly feed the findings back to your team. In a recent Leadership Framework™️ diagnostic, the CEO invited her extended team including the Board to go through the the Leadership Framework™️ self-assessment. The process was warmly accepted by her leadership and extended teams, who openly shared insights which opened her eyes to a world of opportunities for improvement and growth. She went on to courageously share the findings with all within the organisation with the view of gaining greater ownership from all involved in the process and beyond.

  2. Build a clear map that connects every team, role and key performance indicators to the company objectives.

  3. Make it clear what the organisation and leadership stands for is ethical and assures that you and your leadership team are virtuous, in that you do the right thing ahead of profits and self interest.

  4. Organise innovation sprints involving a wide variety of your people and customers as the next big idea may come from someone outside your direct reports.

  5. Empower your people to be the best at what they do by providing them with all available knowledge on products, customers and competitors and train them with self-leadership skills so they turn up as their best everyday, as studies show that happier people are more innovative, engaged and produce better results.

  6. Share the spoils of success and failure as a whole organisation.

  7. Make everyone accountable by measuring and regularly reporting against targets, activity and other performance indicators as well as the results. Hold those at the top most responsible.

  8. Leadership to set expectations through exemplification.

  9. Always remember that the customer is who enables your organisation to exist and concern your efforts on staying one step ahead in your service levels and product offerings.

Like all things worth accomplishing in an organisation, it takes the CEO to lead the change; and developing a winning culture is something that cannot be delegated. It will not happen in organisations where the CEO and the Board are not willing to go all in themselves. To operate above the average Australian company surveyed and to realise of your potential, the CEO must lead the process of deep honest reflection on their leaderships impact on the organisation they are leading. In conclusion, start by finding out how ready, willing and able the people of your organisation are to go all in to make your strategy come alive.

Rohilesh R. Singh, GAICD, Order of Merit specialises in helping CEO's build high performing organisations. Roh is CEO of Populis, a management consulting firm based in Sydney Australia.

Roh can be contacted on +614 0404 9613 or


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