What’s it going to take for you and me to be more successful this year?
I loved my first business, but I was struggling. I was doing something very close to selling ice cubes to Eskimos. I was selling ice cream to Canadians. So what’s not to love about ice cream? It doesn’t sell well when there are three feet of snow on the ground. I had to do something to survive the short selling season of summer. The winter months gave me plenty of time to get good at analyzing, planning, and optimizing my business practices. The business executive checklist (Exec Check 7) was planted like a seed in that cold place almost 30 years ago, nurtured by the warm sunlight of my coaches, by the pure water of education, and the rich soil of experience, it matured to a fruit-bearing tree in my current company, Lighthouse Leadership. I have a passion for sharing that precious fruit with my peers to help you assess how ‘on target’ you are to make the next year better than the current year. Are you ready for a better year?
The Exec Check 7 poses some hard questions. But asking and finding answers to hard questions is what we successful executives do, isn’t it?. Here they are:
☐ 1. BHAG. What is the Big Hairy Audacious Goal* for my organization next year and beyond, and can I articulate it in a clear and inspiring way?
☐ 2. Personal Competencies. What is my plan to hone my personal skills and talents so that I am a better leader next year? Who can I trust to tell me the truth about what I don’t see about myself? Do I have the courage to ask?
☐ 3. Employee Engagement. Have I measured employee engagement for my organization, and am I satisfied with it? What specific actions will I take next year to gain the discretionary efforts (willing efforts by employees above minimum job requirements) of my people? Who is leaving my organization and why?
☐ 4. Employee Competencies. What is my plan to hone the skills and talents of my people so they are more valuable employees next year? A CFO asked the CEO, “What happens if we train them and they leave?” Replied the wise CEO, “What happens if we don’t train them and they stay?”
☐ 5. KPI Score. What are my organization’s Key Performance Indicators (those metrics that predict success) and what will be our weekly, monthly, and yearly stretch goals for them? These are the steps toward achieving your BHAG.
☐ 6. Razor’s Edge. What will I do next year to get or stay on the cutting edge of knowledge, systems, marketing, and technology in my industry?
☐ 7. Knowledge is Power. Do I know, understand, and give appropriate attention to all the important facts about my organization? What information do I need that I’m not getting? For example:
- Annual and monthly revenues
- Annual and monthly expenses
- Top five customers
- Top five competitors
- Major external factors influencing my organization
- Two most serious quality issues
- Changing market conditions
How did you do with the checklist? If you’ve got these under wraps you’re headed for a highly successful year. These are not exhaustive, but are the most crucial. You can fill in the missing pieces, if needed, by examining your culture, strategy, structure, core processes, and efficiency.
Do you feel stuck on any of the Exec Check 7? Lighthouse is ready to help. You too, can be brilliant!
by Doug Lundrigan
* The term BHAG was coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book Built to Last.