Hello To All,
Happy New Year! I hope you have completed your plan
for 2013. I trust that you know what a successful
2013 looks like and you are eager to accomplish your
plan. Please share your plan with your coach. You
coach wants to help you be successful.
This month we want to share some thoughts
A Leadership Checklist: 7 Questions to Ask
Even outstanding leaders struggle through career stretches
during which they feel off track. It can be hard to spot the
specific problem when you’re in the middle of it. But successful
leaders develop techniques for recognizing their vulnerabilities
and making rapid adjustments. Seven Leadership Checkpoints
Leaders should regularly ask themselves questions that target
seven areas, according to Robert S. Kaplan, in a recent article
of Harvard Business Review:
Coming up with good answers is far less important than taking
the time to ask yourself hard questions and honestly examine
your strengths and weaknesses.
- Vision and Priorities
- Managing Time
- Succession Planning
- Evaluation and Alignment
- Leading Under Pressure
- Staying True to Yourself
Vision and Priorities
Many business leaders fail to ask themselves two important
It is difficult to lead people if they lack a firm grasp of
where they’re heading and what’s expected of them. Unfortunately,
many leaders neglect to explain their vision in an easily
- How frequently do I communicate a vision and the
priorities for my business?
- Would my employees, if asked, be able to articulate
the vision and priorities?
Employees want to know where a business is heading and the
areas on which they need to focus. Many managers either unintentionally
under-communicate or fail to articulate specific priorities
that would give meaning to their vision.
How often do I communicate a vision for my business?
- Have I identified and communicated three to five key
priorities for achieving this vision?
- If asked, could my employees articulate my vision and
How do you spend your time?
Your answer plays a major role in the execution of your vision
and priorities. Time is your most precious asset.
Sadly, many leaders cannot accurately answer this question.
Its vital for them to track their time so they can gain
a realistic, honest assessment of how their time is allocated.
You may be surprised to find a disconnect between your top
priorities and how you actually spend your time.
How am I spending my time? Does this match my key priorities?
- How are my subordinates spending their time? Does this
match my business’ key priorities?
Many managers are afraid that criticism will demoralize employees,
discussions will become confrontational, or frank conversations
will result in their not being liked. This prompts many to
postpone giving feedback until it’s time for annual performance
This is a big mistake. People are more receptive to learning
about themselves when feedback is offered throughout the year,
as situations arise.
It is much more challenging to get honest feedback from subordinates.
You must cultivate a network of junior professionals who are
willing to be direct with you. Equally important is what you
do with the feedback. If you act on what others tell you,
you will improve your own performance, boost trust and keep
the feedback loop open.
Do I give people timely and direct feedback to act upon?
- Do I have five or six junior subordinates who will
tell me things I may not want to hear—but need to hear?
If you arent identifying potential successors and developing
their leadership abilities, then you are contributing to business
and personal stagnation.
When challenging and testing people, you must frequently delegate
more to them. This frees you to focus on critical strategic
matters facing the business. Failure to actively plan for
succession means you do not delegate sufficiently and become
a decision-making bottleneck.
Evaluation and Alignment
Have I, at least in my own mind, picked one or more
- Am I coaching them and giving them challenging assignments?
- Am I delegating sufficiently?
- Have I become a decision-making bottleneck?
Your business is constantly changing. So are your customers.
Depending on your industry, this may be rapidor extremely
rapid. If you dont change along with the business environment,
you may become seriously out of alignment. What got you here
today wont necessarily get you there tomorrow.
Have you checked to see if the design of your organization
still aligns with key success factors for your business? Effective
executives regularly seek advice and fresh perspectives from
people who are less emotionally invested in their business.
Leading Under Pressure
Does the design of my company still align with key success
- If I had to design my business from scratch, how would
I create it? How would it differ from the current design?
- Should I create a task force to answer these questions
and make recommendations?
A leaders actions during stressful times have a profound
impact on the firms culture and employees behaviors.
Successful leaders must be aware of their personal stress
triggers and reactions.
Pressure is a normal part of doing business, but it affects
people differently. What may evoke anxiety for one individual
may not bother someone else. As a leader, you are watched
closely. Emotions are contagiouseven more so when they
come from the leader.
Staying True to Yourself
Which events create pressure for me?
- How do I behave under pressure?
- What signals do I send to subordinates?
- Are these signals helpful, or do they undermine the
success of my business?
Successful executives develop leadership styles
that fit their business needs, as well as their personal beliefs
and personality. While many leaders ask themselves about the
former, few analyze the latter.
Companies require leaders who can express strongly held views,
rather than mimic the party line. Don’t tiptoe around significant
issues or foster an atmosphere that encourages employees to
Is my leadership style comfortable? Does it reflect who I truly am?
- Do I assert myself sufficiently, or have I become tentative?
- Am I too politically correct?
- Does anxiety about my next promotion or bonus cause me to hesitate when I want to express my views?
Final Thoughts: If you know someone
who would like to start 2013 with a coach, I would love to
help them find the right coach. Give me a call at 312-842-4577
me by clicking here .
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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. Jerrys ESC assignments have included
coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting on various
Board Development projects and on a number of strategic planning
Pinney & Associates
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