We are starting the second quarter of 2013. Hopefully you have a good start on your goals and objectives for this year. Be sure to share your victories and accomplishments with your team, your family and your coach. Now is good time to stop and reflect and determine what you need to more of and what you need to do less of. Plan the second quarter with enthusiasm and excitement.

Here is a The Leader’s Checklist to create a clear roadmap for navigating
any situation.

A Dashboard for Managing Complexity
Businesses are becoming more complex. It’s harder to predict outcomes because intricate systems interact in unexpected ways.

Staying on track is much easier with a guide or checklist. Michael Useem, a professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of The Leadership Moment, has published The Leader’s Checklist to create a clear roadmap for navigating any situation. It is presented here in condensed form, with sample questions accompanying each principle:

    1. Articulate a Vision: Formulate a clear and persuasive vision, and communicate why it’s important to all members of the enterprise.
        a. Do my direct reports see the forest, as well as the trees?
        b. Does everyone in the firm know not only where we are going,
            but, most importantly, why?
        c. Is the destination compelling and appealing?

    2. Think and Act Strategically: Make a practical plan for achieving this vision, including both short- and long-term strategies. Anticipate reactions and resistance before they happen by considering all stakeholders’ perspectives.
        a. Do we have a realistic plan for creating short-term results, as well
            as mapping out the future?
        b. Have we considered all stakeholders and anticipated objections?
        c. Has everyone bought into, and does everyone understand, the
            firm’s competitive strategy and value drivers? Can they explain it
            to others?

    3. Express Confidence: Provide frequent feedback to express appreciation for the support of those who work with and for you.
        a. Do the people you work with know you respect and value their
            talents and efforts?
        b. Have you made it clear that their upward guidance is welcomed
            and sought?
        c. Is there a sense of engagement on the frontlines,
            with a minimum of “us” vs. “them” mentality?

    4. Take Charge and Act Decisively: Embrace a bias for action by taking responsibility, even if it isn’t formally delegated. Make good and timely decisions, and ensure they are executed.
        a. Are you prepared to take charge, even when you are not in
        b. If so, do you have the capacity and position to embrace
            responsibility? c. For technical decisions, are you ready to
            delegate, but not abdicate?
        d. Are most of your decisions both good and timely?
        e. Do you convey your strategic intent and then let others reach
            their own decisions?

    5. Communicate Persuasively: Communicate in ways that people will not forget, through use of personal stories and examples that back up ideas. Simplicity and clarity are critical.
        a. Are messages about vision, strategy and character crystal-clear
            and indelible?
        b. Have you mobilized all communication channels, from purely
            personal to social media?
        c. Can you deliver a compelling speech before the elevator passes
            the 10th floor?

    6. Motivate the Troops, and Honor the Front Lines: Appreciate the distinctive intentions that people bring to their work; build on diversity to bring out the best in people. Delegate authority except for strategic decisions. Stay close to those who are most directly engaged with the enterprise’s work.
        a. Have you identified each person’s “hot button” and focused on it?
        b. Do you work personal pride and shared purpose into most
        c. Are you keeping some ammunition dry for those urgent moments
            when you need it?
        d. Have you made your intent clear and empowered those around you
            to act?
        e. Do you regularly meet with those in direct contact with customers?
        f. Can your people communicate their ideas and concerns to you?

    7. Build Leadership in Others, and Plan for Succession: Develop leadership throughout the organization, giving people opportunities to make decisions, manage others and obtain coaching.
        a. Are all managers expected to build leadership among their
        b. Does the company culture foster the effective exercise of
        c. Are leadership development opportunities available to most, if
            not all, managers?

    8. Manage Relations, and Identify Personal Implications: Build enduring personal ties with those who work with you, and engage the feelings and passions of the workplace. Help people appreciate the impact that the vision and strategy are likely to have on their own work and the firm’s future.
        a. Is the hierarchy reduced to a minimum, and does bad news travel
        b. Are managers self-aware and empathetic?
        c. Are autocratic, egocentric and irritable behaviors censured?
        d. Do employees appreciate how the firm’s vision and strategy
            affect them individually?
        e. What private sacrifices will be necessary for achieving the
            common cause?
        f. How will the plan affect people’s personal livelihood and the
           quality of their work lives?

    9. Convey Your Character: Through storytelling, gestures and genuine sharing, ensure that others appreciate that you are a person of integrity.
        a. Have you communicated your commitment to performance with
        b. Do others know you as a person? Do they know your aspirations
            and hopes?

    10. Dampen Over-Optimism: To balance the hubris of success, focus attention on latent threats and unresolved problems. Protect against managers’ tendency to engage in unwarranted risk.
        a. Have you prepared the organization for unlikely, but extremely
            consequential, events?
        b. Do you celebrate success, but also guard against the byproduct
           of excess confidence?
        c. Have you paved the way not only for quarterly results, but for
            long-term performance?

    11. Build a Diverse Top Team: Although leaders take final responsibility, leadership is most effective when there is a team of capable people who can collectively work together to resolve key challenges. Diversity of thinking ensures better decisions.
        a. Have you drawn quality performers into your inner circle?
        b. Are they diverse in expertise, but united in purpose?
        c. Are they as engaged and energized as you?

    12. Place Common Interest First: In setting strategy, communicating vision and reaching decisions, common purpose comes first and personal self-interest last.
        a. In all decisions, have you placed shared purpose ahead of private
        b. Do the firm’s vision and strategy embody the organization’s
        c. Are you thinking like a president or chief executive, even if you
            are not one?

    Not all of these questions are applicable to every situation, but it is the questioning that counts.

    Whether you are facing a typical day at the office or walking into a crisis, ask yourself and others these questions to inspire correct actions. Only then can you make sense of the complexities you encounter.

Final Thoughts:

Thanks for your time and your interest. Please forward this to friends and family.
If you know of anyone who would like to experience what coaching is and how coaching can help you achieve your goals and objectives, please have them contact me. I would love to provide a couple of free coaching sessions and then help them find a coach.

Coach Jerry

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Jerry Pinney

For the last twenty-two years Jerry Pinney has been president of his own consulting firm. Currently he focuses his efforts on providing executive and personal coaching to persons who are interested in improving their quality of life and consulting to small and mid-sized companies and nonprofits. He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative Board and is a Certified One Page Planning Consultant. Jerry has over three decades of experience in the food industry, and possesses a unique perspective of customer service, marketing and strategic planning. In addition to overall general management qualifications, Jerry has proven expertise in operational planning and business development. His food industry career started at Jewel Food Stores followed by a long career with IGA, with their retailers, wholesalers and ten years as Vice President of Marketing. In addition Jerry has served as Vice President of Membership for the National Grocers Association, Sr. Vice President of Procurement for Shurfine International and Executive Manager of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.

Jerry has also served on a number of nonprofit boards including: President of the Volunteer Center of Northwest Suburban Chicago. He is currently a Project Manager for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago. Jerry’s ESC assignments have included coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting on various Board Development projects and on a number of strategic planning projects.

Jerry Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
Chicago, IL,
phone: 312-842-4577,
fax: 312-842-4705

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