In this fourth part of our leadership advisory blog series, we’re going to start getting into the weeds on where and how to begin defining what success looks like for a specific leader. What I mean by this is that the success of each engagement is different for each leader. Together, we’ll clarify what success looks like on this individual’s terms and identify the highest and best use of our time together. In some cases, these may be an augmentation to an organizational goal; in others, it may have nothing to do with the organization and have everything to do with personal balance or development. When properly executed, achieving these goals will have a highly positive impact on the organization. Helping leaders to be better leaders helps both the individual and the organization.

Candidly speaking, with regards to all of the senior leaders with whom I work, there’s a combination of organizational and personal objectives that we end up tackling. I believe that for senior leaders to be great leaders, they must first take care of themselves, lead by example, and be in the right frame of mind to lead and not react.

Sometimes, an individual brings to our session a specific task or objective they’re working on. Great, we can dive in and build a plan. More often than not, things are bit cloudier and we may not have a specific objective in mind. Due to this, I often start with a visualization exercise. I know this may sound a bit on the hippie, voodoo side of things, but bear with me. I believe as the senior leader of an organization, three of our highest priorities must be:

  • Ensuring there’s a crystal-clear vision of where the organization is going and that this is known by the entire organization
  • Ensuring the organizational structure is correct, the right people are in specific seats, and the appropriate assets are being deployed
  • Ensuring everyone in the organization clearly understands their role in achieving the overall vision and that there are simple, clear accountabilities in place

When these three things are achieved, magic happens. This is what I do in a collaborative environment with leadership teams and have seen time and time again the power of everybody being on the same page.

At the end of the first session (when a new leader and I have decided to work together), I always leave them with several action items. Often, it may be specific, mechanical, or management-based. I now include one more piece of homework: I ask them to visualize what a great next year could look like. I say something silly like, “If you could wave a magic wand…it’s late December of next year and we’re sitting in this room. If you could look back and say, ‘Wow this year was spectacular.’ What would that look like?” Keep in mind this is different for everyone. It may be personal, organization-focused, centered on expansion, or who knows what else. The point is it’s a great place to start.

Next week, we’ll discuss and explore the specific steps we take once the visualization portion has been completed.

If you’re a business owner, CEO, president, or chairman of the board, and you’d like to see if we may be a fit, I’d be humbled to have the opportunity to speak with you and to provide you with an hour of time to explore where we could go.

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