Follow up on Eight Lessons from Leaders Part 2

Last week I began my deeper dive into the eight lessons from leaders that Michael Keegan outlined in his post Leading Across Boundaries. This week, I will finish with the last four lessons.

  1. Define and focus on your goals and objectives – Goals aren’t just the destination, but the compass that guides us. Goals keep us on track, working together congruently.  They provide us something to measure our progress against; are we going in circles, are losing ground? Without goals, it’s impossible to tell. The more complexity you add to an environment, the more important clearly outlined objectives become. They don’t have to be lofty or intricate, they don’t even have to be long term, but they need to be there.

Assess yourself: Do you know your end goal? Do your employees? Do your strategies and tactics support it? Do you minimize the time you spend on efforts that don’t? Do you know where you are on the path to achieving your goals? If yes, keep working.

  1. Articulate a strategy for moving forward – Once you know your goals, you’ll need a path to get there. Consider what initiatives you’ll need to implement, what changes you’ll need to make, how you will position yourself, and what milestones should be reached along the way. However, developing the strategy is only the first step, you’ll need to share it with your team and get them onboard to help execute.

Assess yourself: Do you know your goals, but aren’t sure how to achieve them? Does it seem like your employees are working towards a different objective? Do you find yourself making more last minute decisions than deliberate ones? If so, it may be time to revisit or outline a clear strategy.

  1. Engage employees and put customers first – Putting customers first is about recognizing the role of engagement in customer satisfaction. “Engaged, highly satisfied employees increase levels of customer satisfaction and drive bottom line profitability,” wrote Jane Flaherty in her blog post Engaged Employees Create Happy Customers. As leaders, we need engage our employees and all our stakeholders in how to provide the best service to clients. If in the end what we’re doing doesn’t contribute to a happier customer, we need to ask ourselves, why are we doing it?

Assess yourself:  Do you actively provide your employees opportunity for leadership and development? Do your employees have a voice in decision making? Are employee incentives aligned to customer satisfaction? Do your business decisions result in better client service? If yes, enjoy the results!

  1. Seize the moment – Though not always easy to find, there is an opportunity in every situation – perhaps an opportunity to learn or grow or even transform into something better. Don’t let the moment pass without making the most of it.

Assess yourself: Do you wait for perfect? Are you more concerned with risk than opportunity? Do you spend more time with analysis than action? If so, it’s time to let go of perfect, stop waiting, and make something out of now.

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