A Clear Picture…

action steps authentic leadership behavior cost of leadership intentional investment leadership leadership culture performance positional leadership profitability return on investment strategic strategic leadership Jan 19, 2023
cost of leadership

If we want to have any hope of capturing even the slightest bit of the profit we’re currently throwing away by not developing the most authentic influence we possibly can with our teams and eliminating all that waste that’s so often tied to miscommunication, we need to have an extremely clear picture of the specific behaviors we’ll need to implement. Having a plan can serve as a decent starting point but putting it to paper will likely be the easier part… If we’re not absolutely certain of how we’ll take action, even the best plan won’t amount to much!

About a decade ago, I was working with one of my mentors in a goal setting session. He challenged me to make a list of things I hoped to accomplish within the first ten years we were in business. As I talked through those goals with him, he continued to challenge me on why I had listed each specific item - which led to crossing a few off the list entirely! Once I had a list that I was truly confident about, he started poking even harder; this time pushing me to picture what achieving each of those goals would look like. He was adamant that I picture each future goal with the same level of specificity that I would have when thinking about my favorite meal or vacation spot. Quite frankly, that was far more difficult than setting on the actual list! But it also yielded far more results…

As I share this with you, I can honestly say that we’ve moved way beyond anything I had even considered listing as a goal back then. I don’t mention any of that to boast, we’ve worked harder along the way than I could have possibly imagined, but I’m certain that we wouldn’t have made the majority of that progress without having that clear picture.

Here’s why I share that… All too often, we attend events, read books, or work through lessons and take pages of notes. Unfortunately, that’s where things tend to stop. We get back to work and have to dig our way out from the time we missed while juggling all the urgent issues that keep coming at us. Before we know it, all those notes are buried under a pile of tasks demanding our attention right away and we rarely get time to ever circle back.

Having experienced that so many times myself, we’ve been very intentional about building steps into every session we do for a group to help them avoid that same trap. I always make the point that taking notes is great but identifying one specific action step that can be applied right away will deliver significantly more value than pages of notes that get stuffed into a drawer! And then I poke harder by pressing participants to define the results they expect to achieve by taking that action. When this is in a group setting, my goal is to provide each participant with tangible items they can work with their manager or the owner of the business on moving forward. In cases where we provide Strategic Leadership Coaching with individuals, we press them even more by challenging them to detail the specific behaviors their teams see from them as they apply the action steps they’ve defined. 

Think back to what I referenced before about being able to immediately see how someone applies the technical training we provide them with… If we expect to capture any of the profit we’re losing because of poor leadership or ineffective communication, we’ve got to develop a clear picture for what the behaviors we’re putting in place will look like, both to us as well as to our teams, and we need to have just as a clear a picture of the results we’re working to achieve. Without doing this, we’re simply ignoring the issue - and that comes with a cost too!