Checkpoints for Yearend and More

posted by Administrator on 12/28/2022 in Blog Posts  | Tagged , , , , , ,
By: Tom Cramer


No doubt about it. These are challenging times for leading a business enterprise. CEOs, founders, and professional managers of small and mid-sized companies are feeling pressed on many sides while recovering from the pandemic, dealing with a new management environment, and wondering what new concerns the economy will deliver in the coming year.

The Leadership Turf

The stark reality is that managing a successful enterprise has always been and always will be a tough job. It may not be what you thought it was going to be when you took the reins, but overcoming challenges is what defines a leader and a successful businessperson.

Your company is either losing market position or gaining it. If you are focused on growth, you will find many of the challenges are compounded. If you are falling behind, it is vital to avoid the impact of the “death spiral.”

This all means that one of the primary characteristics of a successful leader is the ability to look objectively at their performance and the results they are producing. It takes such a critical eye to identify and correct any potential drifting from the plan and those problems that seem to come from nowhere. That is on top of dealing with the standard issues of confronting competition, economic swings, and managing your people.

Instead of waiting for a New Years’ Resolution, it is very useful to plan regular, at least quarterly personal assessments to create your own report card. You can talk to others and seek their feedback. However, the good leader is often his own best critic. Here are a few checklist items to ask yourself to hone those skills as a hard-nosed critic.

  • Am I making the decisions I need to when they need to be made? Your entire team is driven by the decisions that come to your desk. That means your processes should ensure that only those that need your input end up in your inbox. In turn, that requires you to avoid micromanaging. For those decisions you do make, are you waiting for all the information to make the ideal solution? If so, you are probably a bottleneck to progress. Ask yourself: What decisions are waiting right now for me to act?
  • Am I demanding the right level of effort from my team? Having good people is only the start of the road to success. You must expect the best, but not overwork them or create the sense of being unappreciated. Speaking of decisions, is there an underperformer you have delayed dealing with?
  • Am I balancing my time between strategic and tactical issues or am I succumbing to the “Tyranny of the Urgent?” You see the pattern here. Take time to think and choose your path, and then act. Don’t let today’s “fires” keep you from setting the right priorities.
  • Am I protecting my health? One of those priorities must be keeping your mind and body at peak performance levels. Just like a successful marketing campaign, personal fitness does not happen without a well-designed plan and effective implementation.
  • Am I developing relationships or isolating myself? Hunkering down in the bunker is a tempting respite for some of the worst situations. Have you pulled away from important relationships over the past months? Have you sought out and developed relationships with those who can help you achieve your best?
  • Am I able to learn from mistakes and move on or do they cripple me? Hall of Fame hitters strike out nearly seven times out of every ten at-bats. If you are the guy at the plate, you will make mistakes. Have a methodical plan for learning from them and then use those lessons when you focus on the next swing.
  • Am I maintaining a balance with my own priorities? Beyond managing your time on the job, are you protecting the other areas of your life? Your family, your personal and spiritual well-being, your contributions to your community?

Use these to develop your own tough questions and demand your very best answers. Then, put those answers to work in adapting your daily efforts to eliminate destructive tendencies and habits while developing positive and productive new ones.