What are the Questions Every Leader Should Ask When Embarking on a New Year?

Happy New Year! Here are five key questions to ask yourself as you embark on the New Year:

1) Does our strategy reflect the Purpose and Core Values of our business?

So often in the “busyness” of life these days we get caught up in lists of things to do versus the why of our activities.

I recently completed the initial stage of work with a leadership team that has been brought together through mergers and acquisitions to create a new business.

Each part of the business came into the new one with their own culture and viewpoint, as well as local customs that had affected their way of viewing themselves and the business.

We are building a new culture that is creating greater direct communication and respect, and that will lead to greater trust and more success through collaborative effort.

I suggest that if you are involved in growth either through acquisition/merger or through internal growth, take time to establish a clear larger purpose and core values so you will have a measuring stick for how you spend time and resources.

The vital areas of concern for scaling up, and for a culture of collaboration and trust, are People, Relationships and Direct Communication. Team meetings can be more powerful than 1:1s between the team leader and each team member. Think of the change in culture when team members hold each other accountable and leadership is developed at all levels.

Create a schedule that includes the 1-1 meetings but with focus on the team approach.  You can actually have fewer one-on-ones with greater success if you develop your team as an active communication hub for creating priorities, measurements of success and meeting rhythms that create greater synchronicity leading to alignment for achieving your strategic goals.

2) What is your brand? What do you promise to your customer and how does that promise distinguish you from others

3) What will you do to make sure that your brand promise is kept? What action will you take to insure that the customer receives the promise. Note: Reference Jim Collins “The Power of the Catalytic Mechanism”, Harvard Business Review

4) How do you build trust within your business and with your customers? What are the communication and relationship actions that you will take.

5) What is the BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) that you want to accomplish while being in this business. Looking ahead as much as ten or fifteen years, what is that stretch that creates a sense of purpose and excitement? This is a measureable goal so that there are Key Performance indicators that will demonstrate that you are moving toward that goal.
A couple of good examples of this:

  • I have a client who is building the public train system in an Asian country.  He says his BHAG is to up- grade business practices to bring in more integrity in all business.
  • Another European client wants to up- grade business in his country so that people recognize they are accountable and cannot blame others when their success does not meet their vision.

I’ll continue to share solutions that can be created to scale-up your business in sustainable and innovative ways in my next post.

As always, if you have a question, challenge, or success story you would like to share, please be sure to leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you! – Patricia