Me and my leadership team spent some quality time recently, particularly this past week, developing our leadership development plans for the coming year. One of our focus areas is holding ourselves and each other accountable; so we will be working on seeking and giving each other more feedback this year than we have in the past. For example, I have told them how lucky I am that I get seven helpers to develop my leadership plan, because we are having sessions where we work on each other’s plans.
Part of our feedback will be informal of course. But we also have a measurement tool from a leadership coaching firm that helps us, The Flippen Group, that is very quantitative. And even with the informal feedback I want us to be more intentional about it.
Hence, this blog post. I want to start periodically writing down my “self reflections” on the recent past, and how I have done. For this first post, I need to give some context to my plan.
Developing the plan
We devised a simple process, that you can replicate:
- Step 1 – gather inputs. Think about the inputs you may have, like maybe your boss wrote some comments in your annual review about areas you could improve on, or focus areas for your growth. Think about feedback you’ve received from peers or mentors. Think of where your career path may be heading (see a previous post I did on career path) and specific skills (functional or leadership) you may need to develop in order to meet the career objective.
- Step 2 – write down a “laundry list” of items from the above inputs. Don’t try to put them in buckets or categories, don’t worry about whether they fit into one of the items in step 3, just get it all on paper.
- Step 3 – formulate your plan. There should be three sections, and the whole thing should fit on a half page. Section 1: What is the goal (the strategy)? Section 2: How will I get there (the tactics)? Section 3: How will I know if I succeeded (measurements, or how you will be held accountable)?
The first two steps are really simple, and don’t require much thinking. Step three is where the magic happens. And I highly recommend you work with someone like your boss or a mentor to finalize step 3.
There are some constraints you should put on the sections. As I mentioned it should fit on a half page. So absolutely limit yourself to two goals (you can’t expect to carve out enough time and energy to work on more than two; one is even better). And absolutely limit yourself to 2-4 tactics (same reason).
So mine is still in progress, should be completed in the next week or so. But I am zeroing in on my goals which I think will be around developing the leadership skills of my team and building relationships throughout MGM Resorts.
My first scorecard report is on the first goal:
- Held each leader accountable to perform the steps in the above process.
- Spent quality time with several leaders to work on step 3 of the above process.
- Set the stage for them to prioritize their efforts and time management to be more weighted to their leadership development.
- Was self-aware about how I was interacting with different leaders, based on their style.
- Reacted to a negative and set in motion a corrective plan (see details below).
- Managed my presence on several occasions in the office environment this week. Was positive, engaging and interacted with the teams.
Chances to improve
- Didn’t manage my presence in the office environment once this week – didn’t provide positive energy on that occasion.
- Didn’t support one of my direct reports in a meeting, and also didn’t take time to both apologize but also coach them on why I wasn’t supportive (was surprised by something they brought up, should have been better prepped and vetted).
- Didn’t provide a development opportunity for one of my direct reports who I am coaching to be more strategic. We had a project that needed strategic insight, and I didn’t involve them in the process. This can cause a vicious circle, where they don’t get the skills needed, so I don’t involve them, further meaning they don’t acquire the skills. I can tur this into a virtuous snowball by involving them in processes and projects like this, and subsequent to the time I didn’t we discussed and I did involve them in an upcoming process and we agreed to hold each other mutually accountable to this simple step if involving them (they will push me and ask, I will work on ensuring I am intentional about inviting them into processes).
Separately, an upcoming post will discuss my views on vicious circles and virtuous snowballs.
Look for these posts periodically, they are largely for me to track my own progress and hold myself accountable, but hopefully you gain some insight and potential for developmental learning by monitoring someone else’s leadership development through their eyes.