How Do You Decide Where to Spend Your Time?

It’s one of the most common challenges we work with leaders on. What should I be spending my time on? What are the most important activities for me? And, your default impulse on these questions may very well be wrong. If you don’t intentionally choose what to focus on, you will continually be reactive and likely not addressing the most important demands of your role. Leaders often choose their focus based on the following criteria:   What I have always focused on We know from decades of research on management “derailment” that, as a manager moves up in the organization, strengths can become weaknesses. People who are really good at […]

Your 2014 Leadership Development Goals – Get Them Off The Page And Into Reality

It’s that time of year – you’re setting your goals for 2014, including your own development goals. Yet, perhaps your files are cluttered with the evidence of past development resolutions that didn’t fully materialize. How can you approach your development goals differently this year, so that you actually reach your vision for yourself? Here are some guidelines.   Get real about what’s an attainable goal. It’s useful to understand what can and can’t be changed in your leadership style. What you can develop is usually related to your perspective – learning to see and value things differently, which then opens up new options for behavior. For example, you can become […]

Why doesn’t our team follow up on the plans we’ve made?

Members of a divisional leadership team got together to think about how they could lead their division through a major upcoming growth opportunity. They identified a long list of “to do’s” – things they needed to create collectively to improve the group’s effectiveness. You’d be familiar with the types of “organization building” activities they identified – operating model, strategy, roadmap, clear roles and expectations.   The energy level in the room exploded as members talked on top of each other about all the things they needed to do next, to address these needs.  “We just need accountability.” “We just need to have an off-site meeting.” “We just need to hash […]

Stop Talking in Code – Start Improving Performance

Think about the last time you got an assignment that sounded something like this….  ”This project is a big opportunity, so I want you to be proactive and really own it.  I want you to think out of the box and come back with an innovative and strategic solution.” The speaker might believe that he’s being very clear about what’s expected but, when I hear something like this, I have no idea what the listener is supposed to do.  And, if you could cut through this code, you could dramatically improve your own and others’ performance – reducing confusion about expected results and actions, and improving how people discuss and […]

ACL Toolkit – Making Goals Clear

Have you ever experienced Drive-By Goal Setting? (It feels every bit as dangerous as a drive-by shooting) Your manager sticks his head in the doorway, talking fast. “I’ve got a hot one. I need you to look at this problem tonight and get me a solution by tomorrow afternoon. It’s just like the one we had on the last phase, so I’m sure you know how to handle it. If you have any questions, I should be around for a while today. Got it? Thanks!” The whole conversation lasted 90 seconds. How often do you get assignments like this one?  Monthly?  Weekly?  More often?  If so, then join the crowd […]

Implied Expectations

What are they and why are they dangerous for you and your organization? Often, I hear employees talk about “implied expectations.” This phrase typically comes up when a person doesn’t meet your expectations, and you are surprised and even disappointed. I hear many people say things like “I can’t believe he missed that, he must have known it was part of the job,” or “with his experience, I expected him to know what to do,” or “he has the title and pay, so he really should really know how to do the job.” Each of these comments suggests an implied, unspoken expectation. An implied expectation is the belief that, because […]