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Rapid Realignment: Proven Strategies for Unbeatable Performance

Rapid Realignment: Proven Strategies for Unbeatable Performance

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Dr. George H. Labovitz and Victor Rosansky, the
co-authors of Rapid Realignment: How to Quickly Integrate People, Processes, and Strategy for Unbeatable Performance.)

When Admiral Vern Clark became Chief of Naval Operations in 2001, he made our previous book, The Power of Alignment, required reading for all the admirals in the Navy. He did so because he could sense there was enormous misalignment in his organization that was costing his service in terms of performance and money. “Things were broken in ways that nobody knew,” he explained. “The Navy was hollowing out. It was my sense.” He told us, “that if we were a public company, we’d have been in Chapter 11.”

In support of his focus on alignment, we pointed out that there is over thirty years of empirical research that shows aligned organizations outperform their nearest competitors by every major financial measure. He surprised us, however, when he said, “that may be true, but the main reason I made alignment my number one goal wasn’t financial. It was because in my business, second place is a terminal disease.” At that moment we learned why the imperative to align is so great in military and government organizations: because the price of misalignment is so high.

But military and government organizations offer unique challenges to leaders charged with rapidly realigning them to meet ongoing challenges. Government functions are usually supply driven, and operating units are often insular and bureaucratic. Their focus is on spending budgets and on activities versus customer-related performance metrics. Also the scale of these organizations is often very large and the timeframe required for realignment is often very short.

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We spent years measuring the state of alignment within major military and government organizations and working with senior leaders to improve it, often with dramatic results. The lessons we’ve learned from military and government leaders who successfully realigned their organizations are contained, with others, in our new book Rapid Realignment: How to Quickly Integrate People, Processes, and Strategy for Unbeatable Performance (McGraw Hill 2012).

    In each case, we’ve learned something new and valuable. We’ve learned for example, that leaders can create alignment by measuring alignment. And when leaders are provided information that informs action, leaders can take focused action that yields more immediate results.

    For example, one of those capable leaders was Vice Admiral Phil Balisle, head of the Naval Sea Systems Command, or NAVSEA. NAVSEA is a huge enterprise with over 54,000 people and a budget of more than $20 billion dollars. It is responsible for the technical and engineering support and long-term maintenance of the surface fleet and submarines.

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    VADM Balisle took command in at a time when the Navy’s brass felt that NAVSEA needed to revolutionize its procedures, streamline operations, and break away from the perception that it was dedicated to the status quo. He knew that the Navy’s usual three-year command cycle would make implementing long-term change difficult. Could he get it all done in three years?

    Adding to the challenge was the fact that the majority of his work force was civilian, not military. Most had been doing their jobs for years and had developed an entrenched way of doing things that had made them resistant to change — rapid change in particular.

    In taking on his task, Balisle adopted what we call a Slow-Faster-Faster approach: taking his time (up to six months), initially to listen, learn, gather data, and plan; speed up with a set of ambitious initiatives; and, finally, going all out to engage the workforce in enduring change, assessing alignment at each stage.

    Each initiative adopted what Balisle’s teams would call the “Hundred Day March.” One hundred days to align and transform long-established practices seemed daunting, but Balisle felt that the foundation of change had to be laid down quickly. The first 30 days of each “march” would be devoted to defining the problem and objective. What needed fixing, and how could they fix it? For each initiative the remaining 70 days would be devoted to implementation. By the end of the hundred days, the goal was to have new and aligned structures in place.

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    The balance of Balisle’s years in command was devoted to making those new structures enduring, and to engaging the workforce — from top to bottom — in the new way of operating. Gaining buy-in was an important challenge for each team. It required an aggressive communication plan that would reach every sailor and civilian employee with a consistent message over time. As in every other successful example of rapid realignment, message consistency and repetition was required to sustain the alignment initiative. Measurement was also essential. Balisle and his team used our web-based alignment assessment tool each year to measure how people were responding to changes and to identify barriers to further progress.

    As challenging as the NAVSEA project was, and as taxing as its hundred-day marches were for people, it worked. As Phil Balisle told us:

    “We saw results very quickly — money savings and improved efficiencies. We were doing jobs with less people, were cleaning up work areas so people felt better about their work and the organization of it. We could see tangible things that were very important to where we had to go. We also received recognition of progress in the Federal Government’s 2005 survey of Best Places to Work, which showed significant improvement in NAVSEA’S across-the-board scores and a rating well above Navy and Department of Defense averages. These results, which included ranking No. 1 in effective leadership among U.S. Navy organizations, were an especially notable achievement given the amount of change we imposed on the workforce.”

    These scores were gratifying, as NAVSEA had consistently ranked low in the Department of Defense survey prior to Balisle’s command.

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    VADM Balisle’s experience, and that of other military/government leaders we have worked with, proves that no matter how challenging the environment, with focused leadership action rapid realignment can be achieved.

    Dr. George H. Labovitz, co-author of Rapid Realignment: How to Quickly Integrate People, Processes, and Strategy for Unbeatable Performance, is the founder and CEO of ODI, an international management training and consulting company, and professor of management and organizational behavior at the Boston University Graduate School of Management.

    Victor Rosansky, co-author of Rapid Realignment: How to Quickly Integrate People, Processes, and Strategy for Unbeatable Performance, is co-founder and president of LHR International, Inc. He has more than 25 years of experience as a consultant, helping Fortune 500 clients to drive rapid strategy deployment and alignment.

    (Photo credit: Business Chart showing positive growth via Shutterstock)

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    Published on August 4, 2020

    36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

    36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

    Most jobs require specialized skills. At the same time, there are a lot of resume skills that apply across the board.

    If you’re on the hunt for a new job, give your resume a refresh. Employers want to know: Can you communicate effectively? Are you easy to get along with? Can you manage your time effectively?

    Remember, you may not get a second look. Use your resume to make a great first impression.

    Holistic ability is what employers want to see when hiring. These resume skills can make you a top pick regardless of what role you’re applying for.

    Communication

    Being properly understood is critical. On any team, you must be able to relay and interpret messages with speed and precision. How you describe yourself, the concision of your phrasings, and the layout of your resume are great ways to showcase these skills.

    1. Writing

    Whether it’s emails or official documents, writing skills are essential for candidates in any industry. Clear, concise phrasings minimize misunderstandings and save the recipient time. This is probably one of the most important resume skills.

    2. Verbal Communication

    Speaking clearly and eloquently is one of the first things a hiring manager will note in an interview. Communicating over the phone is commonplace in business. Outline this skill on your resume, and they’ll invite you in to listen for themselves. This is easily one of the most important resume skills in most industries.

    3. Presentation

    Sales pitches and company meetings may include presentations, which require special communication skills. Being able to spearhead and properly carry out a presentation shows organization and resolve.

    4. Multilingualism

    Knowing more than one language can open doors for you and the business you represent.[1] Being able to speak another language allows your company to serve a whole new demographic.

    5. Reading Comprehension

    At any job, employee handbooks, company newsletters, and emails will come your way. Being able to decipher them quickly and effectively is an important resume skill. This goes hand in hand with having excellent writing skills.

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    Tech Savvy

    Technology is evolving rapidly, especially in the business world. Be sure to mention the technologies you’re familiar with on your resume, even if you don’t expect to use them daily.

    6. Social Media

    Almost everyone has some form of social media these days. Companies use platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to reach new audiences, provide customer service, and build brand loyalty.

    7. Operating Systems

    Can you use a Mac? What about a PC? Most jobs today require the use of a computer. Prior experience navigating common operating systems will help you acclimate much more quickly. This has become an important resume skill ever since the start of the information age.

    8. Microsoft Office

    Of all the software in the world, Microsoft’s Office suite might be the most popular. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook are widely used in the business world. Having this as part of your resume skills is very helpful especially in certain industries.

    9. Job-Specific Programs

    Did you get the hang of HubSpot in your last role? Is Slack something you’ve mastered? Be sure to mention them on your list of resume skills. These demonstrate that you can pick up new tools quickly.

    Interpersonal Skills

    Despite the rise in technology, businesses are run by people. Working with and for people means you need to be able to handle yourself with poise in different social settings. Highlight roles and situations on your resume that involved tricky conversations.

    10. Customer Service

    No company can succeed without its customers. Being able to treat customers with respect and attention is an absolute must for any applicant. Specific industries regard this as the most important resume skill their prospective employees should have.

    11. Active Listening

    Listening is an underrated skill, especially for leaders.[2] If you can’t listen to other people, you’ll struggle to work as part of a team.

    12. Sense of Humor

    You might wonder why having a sense of humor is a part of your resume skills. Humor is important for building rapport, but getting it right in the workplace can be tough. Everyone loves someone who is entertaining and can lighten the mood. On the other hand, people are turned off by immaturity and inappropriate jokes.

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    13. Conflict Resolution

    A customer stomps up to your desk and starts yelling about a problem he or she is having – how do you handle this situation? The right approach is to work to resolve the situation, not to escalate or avoid it.

    Teamwork

    One of the best parts of any job is the bonds you build with your co-workers. Fostering healthy relationships can make the workspace more enjoyable for everyone.

    14. Collaboration

    Whatever your line of work, chances are good that you’ll be working with others. Being able to collaborate effectively with them is critical if the whole team is to hit its goals. You can use various apps and tools available to help you collaborate with your team.

    15. Leadership

    Even if the title of the job you’re applying to isn’t “manager” or “executive,” there will still be moments when it’s your turn to lead. Prove that you’re up to the challenge, and you’ll be looked at as a long-term asset. Listing this as one of your resume skills is certainly an eye-catcher for most.

    16. Reliability

    Work isn’t always easy or fun. You have to be willing to pull your weight, even when times are hard. Otherwise, your co-workers won’t feel as if they can count on you. Reliability is important in maintaining the cohesion of a team. You should let people know that they can rely on you.

    17. Transparency

    To work as a team, members must be willing to share information with each other. Are you willing to own up to your mistakes, share your challenges, and accept consequences like an adult? Let them know that you’re transparent and reliable.

    Personal Traits

    Your resume is about selling yourself, not just your education and work history. The good news is, your “soft” skills are a great opportunity to differentiate yourself. Use bullets beneath your past experiences to prove you have them.

    18. Adaptability

    In any role, you’ll need to adjust to new procedures, rules, and work environments. Remember, these are always subject to change. Being able to adapt ensures every transition goes smoothly.

    19. Proactivity

    An autonomous employee can get work done without being instructed every step of the way. Orientation is one thing; taking on challenges of your own accord is another. Being proactive is an essential resume skill, especially if you’re eyeing for managerial roles in the future.

    20. Problem-Solving

    When problems arise, can you come up with appropriate solutions? Being able to address your own problems makes your manager’s life easier and minimizes micro-management. Problem-solving is an important yet often overlooked resume skill.

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    21. Creativity

    Can you think outside of the box? Even roles that aren’t “creative,” strictly speaking, require creative thinking. Creativity also helps in your ability to solve problems.

    22. Organization

    Staying organized makes you more efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes. Organization skills make life easier not just for you, but also for other members of your team. This makes it an important skill to put in your list of resume skills.

    23. Work Ethic

    Every company wants hard workers on its team. You’re applying for employment after all, not a place to lounge around. Putting this on your list of resume skills is just as important as actually exhibiting it in the workplace once you’re hired.

    24. Stress Management

    How well do you work under stress? If you’ll be required to meet tight deadlines, you’ll have to prove you can handle the heat.

    25. Attention Management

    Whether you’re developing a partnership or writing a blog post, attention to detail makes all the difference. People who sweat the details do better work and tend to spot problems before they arise. Use Maura Thomas’s 4 Quadrants of Attention Management as a guide to managing attention.[3]

    26. Time Management

    Time is money. The better you are at using company time, the more valuable you’ll be. Show that you can make every second count. Managing your time also means being punctual. No employer wants to deal with a team member who’s constantly tardy. This is commonly included in most people’s resume skills, but not everyone lives up to it.

    27. Patience

    Things won’t always go your way. Can you calmly work through tough situations? If not, you’ll struggle with everything from sales to customer service to engineering.

    28. Gratitude

    When things do go your way, are you gracious? Simply being grateful can help you build real relationships.[4] This also helps foster a better team atmosphere.

    29. Learning

    Employers want to invest in people who are looking to grow. Whether you love to take online courses, read, or experiment with hobbies, make sure you show you’re willing to try new things.

    30. Physical Capability

    Many job postings have the classic line, “must be able to lift X amount of pounds” or “must be able to stand for X hours per day.” Play up past positions that required you to do physical labor.

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    31. Research

    How easily can you dig up new details about a concept? Research skills are critical for marketing, business analysis, writing, account management, and more.

    32. Money Handling

    Being able to count bills quickly and accurately is important at any company with a brick-and-mortar storefront. Integrity and honesty are key when you’re running the cash register or reconciling bank statements.

    Commitment

    To employers, every new hire represents an investment. Are you worth investing in? Prove it. Employers need to see signs of commitment before they bring you on board.

    33. Longevity

    Hiring managers love to see long tenures on your resume. This suggests that you’re in it for the long haul, not just passing through for a quick buck.

    34. Fidelity

    For an employer-employee relationship to work, there has to be trust. Employers tend to find out when someone is hiding side gig or sharing information they shouldn’t be. References from past employers can prove that you’re loyal to companies that hire you.

    35. Obedience

    You won’t agree with every choice your employer makes. With that said, you have to respect your role as an employee. Obedience is about doing what your leader decides is best, even if you have a different perspective.

    36. Flexibility

    Life is full of surprises. A month into your new job, your role could change entirely. Flexible people can roll with the punches.

    Final Words

    Perform a self-audit: Which of these skills will your potential employer want to see? Add them to your resume strategically, and you’ll be that much closer to your dream job.

    Tips on How to Create a Great Resume

    Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

    Reference

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