The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive - Notes

A parable telling the story of the heads of 2 competeing consultancy firms and their very different approaches to running a business.

The Obsessions are about building healthy high performing organizations.

Obsession 1: Build and Maintain the Team.  You need to have the right people on board, hiring for attitude is critical.

Three of the firms values in hiring people were “humble, hungry, and smart.” Humility the absence of pride, hubris, or self-aggrandizement: hungry, the drive to perform, and smart, educated, problem solvers who get people.

Obsession 2:  Creating Organizational Clarity.   What is the purpose and mission of this organization? Why – vision where are we going? Strategy a diagnosis, concept and plan of how to get there.  What are our agreed behaviors and standards?

Obsession 3: Over communicate Organizational Clarity.  Communication is hard.  Our assumption that the message is heard and understood is usually wrong.  To achieve understanding let alone advocacy and action we have to over communicate.  In other words keep saying and repeating the same message.  Simple but not easy.

Obsession 4:  Reinforce Clarity through Human Systems: ‘Build a sense of clarity into the fabric of the organization through processes and systems that drive human behavior’. How do we align the goals and needs of individuals with the goals and needs of the organization.

Who do we hire, who do we reward and promote who do we discipline or dismiss? All questions that revolve back to and around the organizations clarity of its purpose, values and behaviors.