Liz's Latest Articles
During a recent quarterly strategic plan update session, the CFO had an epiphany. We had been discussing what they, as the senior staff, had done to communicate their new vision and mission to all staff. We had also discussed what they would be doing next to work with their teams to help them understand how each team’s efforts should support the new vision. As part of that discussion, I suggested the senior staff ask themselves and their teams this question: How will this (process, initiative, project, etc.,) move our Vision and Mission - and those we serve - forward? As we discussed this question further, the CFO sat back with a somewhat stunned look on his face.
One of the questions I’m initially asked by a new strategic planning client is, “How will we know what we’re supposed to focus on with our new plan?” Well, the easy answer is, “You’ll focus on what you need to focus on,” but the more appropriate answer is, “You’ll focus on what your answers to some critical questions tell you to focus on.” Now you may be thinking, “Those sound like a couple of non-answers and they don’t sound strategic at all.”
One of the many pleasures of my work is that I have the opportunity to observe, work with, learn from, and laugh with some incredibly good leaders. I also am able to experience others, who, though well-meaning, create more work, confusion, and frustration than they realize. One of the fundamental differences in these two types of leaders is that those who I view as ‘good leaders’ intentionally reassess and develop their own leadership skills while they dedicate time and resources to developing the leadership skills in others. Why? Good leaders realize one simple truth: The more skills their teams have, and the more united they are in their actions, the stronger they will perform. Win - Win - Win.
How well do you know your team members? Besides knowing their names and generally what their jobs are, do you have a realistic understanding of their workplace challenges, the projects they’re involved with, their professional goals, and their unique skills weaknesses or areas of expertise? No? I understand. It’s tough enough having time to get your own work done much less worry about your team members’ challenges. However, the sooner you understand your team members better, the sooner you’ll relieve some of your workplace stress, you’ll strengthen your workplace relationships, and you’ll see your performance - and your entire team’s performance - improve.
Do you believe your managers can really manage? Do you believe your managers have the skills to make their own department or team decisions? Do you believe your managers can outline their own department or team projects and budgets? Do you believe your managers can resolve their own team problems and make sound decisions concerning their teams and talent? If you really believed your managers could manage, you wouldn’t be involved in so many of their management-level decisions and actions. You’d trust your managers to manage.