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Executive priorities as important as the bottom line

(iStockphoto)

(iStockphoto)

Senior managers spend an awful lot of time plotting out and executing on strategies that aim to increase profits and bolster the corporate bottom line. That is, after all, a main tenet of their jobs. But, as a number of LinkedIn Influencers explored this week, managers in key leadership and senior executive roles must also find ways to cut unnecessary meetings, increase trust and uncover the next looming crisis. A look at what they had to say.

Rajat Taneja, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Electronic Arts

Meetings. They are the workday must that many professionals love and loathe. Good meetings move work forward, but ones that do not accomplish anything take away from time that could be better used, wrote Taneja in his post, Cut Down on Unnecessary Meetings.

“The greatest asset for knowledge workers is our time. How we spend our time determines the value we bring to our company, our profession and to society over the long term. The more efficient we are with the use of our time, the more returns we’ll see,” he wrote.

Taneja did his own experiment to track the value of the many meetings he attended. The result: “It turns out that the majority of my time was being spent on meetings that were really not very valuable. I had too many unnecessary long meetings that kept me from getting other important work done.”

Now Taneja adheres to a few rules to make sure his time — and that of others who work with him — is used effectively. Among them:  “regular tracking of time spent against preset goals; allocate regular unscheduled time in a day to think…; only accept meetings that are ROI-positive; keep all meetings… to 30 minutes; and have clear goals for every meeting,” he wrote.

But his ultimate advice is easier said than done for many professionals. “You don’t always have to click ‘accept’ to every request – guard your time wisely and the results will pay off,” Taneja wrote

Don Peppers, Founding Partner, Peppers & Rogers Group at TeleTech

“Organizational trust represents the degree to which the employees of an organization are able to ‘count on’ their managers and fellow employees,” Peppers wrote in his post, Productivity Increases with Organizational Trust. “You trust an organisation when you think your fellow worker, or your manager, will always ‘have your back’.” The more employees trust the company or organization they work for, the more productive they are in their jobs — a good thing for the bottom line.

To get there, managers in a recent survey from the Human Capital Institute, a human resources and talent management research association, pinpointed the actions the leaders of an organisation should take to achieve a higher level of trust. “The top five leadership actions chosen were: set employees up for success by providing tools, resources and learning opportunities (41%); provide adequate information around decisions (41%); seek input prior to making decisions (40%); consistently act in alignment with the company’s values (35%); and give employees an inspiring shared purpose to work toward (28%).”

“The correlation between organisational trust and employee engagement is worth paying attention to,” Peppers wrote. “If you want your company to be successful, you need to cultivate a culture of trust, which will encourage your employees to work better with each other and to enjoy doing it. The general level of trust within your firm is directly connected to your firm's productivity and competitive success.

Peter Zaffino, President and Chief Executive Officer at Marsh

Zaffino, head of insurance broker and risk adviser Marsh, addresses the non-monetary risks that managers and company leaders, particularly in retail firms, need to look out for as they consider the fallout from a garment building collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 people. In addition to the potential for shoppers temporarily taking their business elsewhere, leaders must consider the potential impact of other key issues — and head them off before they become a problem.

Among them: “Reputational risk: The [building] collapse serves as a vivid reminder to organisations that, in many respects, the well being of its reputation and brand is in the hands of others. This is especially true in the highly competitive apparel market, where younger consumers tend to be more sensitive to issues broadly related to social responsibility,” Zaffino wrote. The solution: a carefully considered crisis management plan, he wrote. Zaffino also addressed supply chain and compliance risks managers need to plan for.

Other risks managers need to address before they become problems, he wrote, are compliance and supply chain risks.

Other voices:

Bruce Kasanoff, an entrepreneur and author wrote about the key reason managers should work to make their employees’ lives easier.

Chester Elton, author of All In, wrote about five ways great managers motivate employees over the summer.