I am still building out the details of my leadership scorecard, but I can report on a few relevant aspects this week.
- Leadership plans
In a matter of three weeks, me and my direct reports have finalized our leadership plans using the process I described a couple of weeks ago and we will now be cascading that process to our next level of leaders. The process has been informative, spurred great conversations, and revealed insights to each of us.
One thing we noted was a common issue as we each developed our plans – we were thinking too “tactically” versus “strategically.” What I mean by that is, we were setting goals that weren’t actually the ultimate goals. We might have said, “I want to develop my team’s leadership skills” but were missing the reason that would matter – to achieve higher team performance, or build successors for my role, or allow us to compete more effectively against our competitors.
2. My leadership goals
My leadership goals became clear through the process. Prepare myself for future leadership opportunities and accelerate our team’s performance to match our growth and face new competition; do this by building a succession plan/leadership bench in our area, and build more collaborative relationships across our company.
I have several tactics to support these goals and as you know I will be measuring myself on these tactics and goals. For example, I am committed to spending 50% of my time either developing the leadership skills of my team, helping them achieve our strategic plan goals, or collaborating outside of my area. I’ve set up a grid to start tracking against that target.
3. Reflections on the past week
I looked at my time spent for the last two weeks, and I succeeded in spending the right amount of time with my team and with others in the organization, but didn’t spend enough time on our strategic plan.
My goal these is to work “side by side” with my direct reports and their next level – those who are leading the detailed strategic initiatives – giving them guidance, asking probing questions, brainstorming ideas; most of the folks in our division have never really done such forward-looking thinking or managed projects or done things like facilitated a brainstorming session. These are places I can add value to them.
I have had a few targeted sessions with some of the initiative leads where they were struggling with a specific aspect of their plan, and those seemed to be very helpful to the groups.
I have also been executing better on a key tactic for me: ASK QUESTIONS, DON’T GIVE ANSWERS. I am trying to be incredibly conscious of this in every interaction I am in. Both in person and via email. My incredibly strong natural tendency when asked something or given a “puzzle” is to answer the question or solve the puzzle. I am now trying to automatically “answer a question with a question” at least once, hopefully multiple levels of questions for more complex issues. Really a struggle for me, but my focus on it seems to be leading to some progress. It will take a long-term focus and lots of feedback from those around me to make sure I continue to improve in this area.