As 2019 winds down, we wanted to revisit our MEMBER 360 as it relates to leadership. It is an incredibly valuable tool when you look at each question in depth, as we have done here. This is the type of exercise we go through in LXCouncil meetings with our CEOs and business owners.
Taking a more in depth look at each topic and rating your business in each area is important for the health and growth of your company. Leadership in your company is just one piece of the Member 360. If you haven’t seen the full evaluation tool, you access the full MEMBER 360 here.
This week, we’ll revisit 11 LEADERSHIP questions and why they are important.
- Do you lead by example in pursuing the company’s Vision, Mission and Values?
Do you walk the company’s talk? As the leader, you are under the microscope every day. Your team is looking at you as the example and as a role model. Every action you take, whether in person, on the phone, or by email will be examined by your team in relation to what you are communicating as your business vision/mission/values. Do you scrub your decisions and actions against these as a litmus test?
2. Do you have a clearly-defined exit strategy or succession plan for your business?
If not, this should be a priority for 2020. Having this in place is critical for businesses on so many levels. First of all, how would your business function if something happened to you and were unable to work for an extended period of time? What will happen to your company in the event of your untimely passing? This is not only important for your clients and your employees, but also for your family … especially if you run a smaller business. It can be overwhelming, so start with the easier piece first – succession planning. This includes having detailed written processes in place that someone else can follow, and having people trained in all aspects of the things you handle personally in your business. Include the financial and legal matters that will most certainly arise in the event of your death and/or incapacitation. Doing this work now, will also help you be ready for the exit strategy. Having these items in place ensures the business not 100% dependent on YOU and makes the company much more attractive to a potential buyer in the future. To be perfectly frank, this area is typically one the greatest weaknesses of smaller businesses.
3. Are you disciplined in overseeing the execution of your strategic plan?
Let’s say you have a great strategic plan for the business. Excellent! It has all the elements to steer your company confidently into the uncertain future. Even better! The question here is whether you are actually executing your plan. Some elements of your strategic plan may be easy to do and you tackle those readily, but are you showing discipline in tackling the tougher tasks? Are you holding your team accountable for their pieces of the plan? A strategic plan is only as good as the person who has the discipline to stick to it and execute it. Give yourself a good score if you feel that you are on the road your strategic plan has mapped out.
4. Do you exhibit a high level of integrity in words and actions at all times?
When outside of the office in social situations, are you modeling the behavior you want your team to see? Is your personal life also in line with your status as a role model? Having an “at the job persona” and a different “social life persona” is not a good idea. Integrity is being able to look yourself in the mirror before you go to bed and see a person that does the right thing even when no one is watching. If you feel good looking at the mirror at night, give yourself high marks.
5. Do you follow through on your commitments to others?
This goes hand and hand with integrity. You probably know someone who promises everything and rarely comes through with anything. Frustration and lack of respect can happen quickly if you are not following through on commitments. If you are having trouble in this area, your intentions may be good, but lack of follow through will seriously impact your company’s reputation and the morale of your team in a negative way.
6. Do you communicate clearly with your team and listen to their feedback?
Many times, leaders believe they are good communicators. However, the perception of your team (especially your rank and file workers) may be quite different. A great way to check this is to find a new hire and ask them about your company, your vision, mission, and values. If you aren’t hearing what you want, then your business communication needs some work. In addition, keep in mind that people listen in different ways. While an email is fast, a phone call or face to face meeting with someone may achieve better results. The same applies with feedback. Having multiple avenues for your team to provide feedback will give you better insights. It’s important to listen. If you are listening, do you act on the feedback? If you have good answers to these gut check questions, give yourself high marks.
7. Do you make decisions in an appropriate time frame?
Leaders typically prefer to make decisions with the most amount of information available. Sometimes you don’t have that luxury, however. It’s possible you may have incomplete information to make a decision, but one must be made anyway. It’s likely you’ve seen a leader who is paralyzed from action due to wanting more information or input. In most cases, decision paralysis is not a good thing. As a leader, you often must work with limited information and trust your “gut” and experience.
Do YOU make necessary decisions when you may not have all the information? Obviously, critical or crucial decisions for your company need to be thought out carefully, but when it’s time to pull the trigger, do you decide in a timely manner or do you procrastinate? If you feel you make timely decisions, give yourself high marks here!
8. Do you show personal respect and concern for team members and demonstrate compassion when needed?
Earlier, we explored integrity and being an example for your team. This goes hand in hand with showing compassion and concern. Studies show that great leaders also have the trait of great empathy. Trying to understand how your team members are thinking and feeling will help you when compassion is needed. Being seen as a leader who wants to help someone on a personal level will help cultivate the loyalty, work ethic, and teamwork that you want in your team. If you feel you are not as compassionate with others as you need to be, give this some thought. You’ll really like the results!.
9. Are you actively involved in training or mentoring leaders within your organization?
John Maxwell said, “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” EVERYONE wants to be mentored! Think of your personal experiences and the mentors that helped you become the leader you are today. Your future leaders will eagerly accept your mentoring, as well. In addition, any succession or exit plan for your company revolves around the success of you training/mentoring the future leaders of the company. If you feel that you are an effective mentor, give yourself good marks here.
10. Do you currently spend time on the most important aspects of the business (as the owner)… the things that drives the most value?
In other words, are you a cog in the daily grind, or are you really a strategic thinker and leader in your company? At LXCouncil, we spend a great deal of time talking about this. You know the saying – “You should be working on the business, not in the business as the leader.” Are you critically examining the aspects of your company that you are personally involved in? Can you measure the value of these activities? If you are embroiled in accounting, marketing, sales, etc., are these the best use of your time? Or, are you thinking strategically, building relationships that bring value, and coaching/mentoring your team for maximum effect? If it’s the latter, give yourself a high mark.
11. Are you taking vacation and time to rejuvenate, as well time for personal development as the owner?
A burned-out boss is a bad boss. You need to take time off to recharge and refocus from time to time. PS – don’t think you can take a vacation and still “work a little.” When you leave for a vacation, leave the work behind. By the way, you will show team members that you TRUST them to run the business while you are away. Don’t email or check in by phone…this can actually demotivate your team. You’ve worked hard to make your business a success. Enjoy the fruits of your labor by taking some time off!
As for personal development, most leaders forget that they need personal development time as well. If you agree that “so goes the leader, so goes the company,” it begs the question … who trains and develops the leader? This is where a peer advisory group can make a substantial difference in the growth of your business. As you develop and grow as a leader, you are better trained and empowered to work strategically ON your business!
This is the type of exercise we go through in LXCouncil meetings with our CEOs and business owners. If you’re a CEO, business owner, or entrepreneur who really wants to build a wildly successful business, you need more than a dream — you need a dream team.
Simply put, that’s what LXCouncil is … it’s a dream team comprised of other business owners, just like you. Peer advisory councils are an entrepreneur’s secret weapon. Members gain access
to knowledge and insights that their competitors often lack. That extra edge can really make
a big difference in how a company performs in a competitive marketplace.