Every third quarter provides business owners and leaders the opportunity to do a thorough evaluation of their goals, metrics, and outcomes. It’s a time to get under the hood of the organization and dig into YTD figures and quarterly sales figures. It’s also a time when leaders can do a self-evaluation and an organizational awareness assessment through the lens of six critical questions. Truth is, the answers you give are as critical as the questions you are asking. They reveal your vision and values and set the tone for the organizational behaviors that bring that vision to life.
- Which gauges should we be watching?
At a glance, the right set of gauges can tell you a lot about the health of your organization. Knowing the right three or four to watch is critical. What needs to be measured and tracked? Are there any key behaviors that need to be watched and measured so you can reinforce those you want more of and reduce those you want to see less of? Mission and vision should narrow the focus on the metrics that matter. Keeping a strategic eye on the right gauges can keep you and your team focused and on line to reach your goals.
- Where are we manufacturing energy?
Is there an area that easily generated results and excitement but now requires you to dig deep and tap your energy to even come close to getting the same result? Often this question shines on the areas that need to be redesigned, restructured or reinvented. This has the potential to free valuable time and dollars to focus on stretch goals and or strategic projects.
- Who needs to be sitting with you at the table?
Key decisions require insight and perspective of key people. It’s important to ask, “Who is best to come along side me so I can make the best decisions for the organization. It’s vital that you bring all the best brains to the table no matter where they fall in the organizational hierarchy. It also gives perspective on how others think who are further removed from decision making.
- Who is not keeping up?
This is a tough one! It’s difficult and painful, but it’s critical that we understand how fast we are going and who can’t keep pace. As tough as identifying and calling out people who can’t keep up is, I will tell you with certainty that everyone else on the team already knows, and the longer it takes to take action the more it frustrates and dishonors those who are keeping up and in turn holds them back from achieving their goals, and ultimately damages your company and the team.
- Where do I make the greatest contribution to the organization?
As leaders, we tend to drift into doing everything and are tempted to create a comfort zone of sorts around the feeling of command and control that it brings. This generally leads to chronic overwhelm and eventual failure.We have to ask ourselves this question: Where do I make the biggest impact and bring the highest value to our company or organization? In other words, “What do you do that only you can do?” There may be many things that you do well, but what are the critical things that bring the highest return.Answering these questions are critical for the leader because once you have figured this out, your focus should be to spend the majority of your time on those few vital things.
- What should I stop doing?
This may be the most important question of the six. Learning to say no and focusing your yeses will position you to lead your team or organization to the next level. Understand that once you have clearly answered question number five, you have a mandate for what you should say no to on question six. You have to make the tough decision to stop doing some things, even things you enjoy doing, if they don’t add value.
Take the time to get under the hood of these very important questions. Know that the work you do affects all of the work going on around you. Everything rises and falls on leadership, as the timeless author, John Maxwell, says. So dig in, look inward and observe what’s happening around you and document your thoughts. Process them with your key leaders and . . . well . . . lead.
Smile, the next level awaits.