You reached the top. You’re the founder. The leader. The CEO. Now, who is holding you accountable for doing the right things and keeping the company on top?
Some leaders have one or two trusted partners who can open their eyes to potential blindspots. Others find big success in hiring a coach. You can take a positive step toward accountability right now by taking our Leadership Review test.
Leadership Review Test
Get this year off to a flying start by asking yourself eight key leadership review questions. Be fair, be tough, be honest. The answers might surprise you, and they might point towards big improvements for you and your company.
1. What went right for you as leader of your firm last year?
Start out positive. Maybe you pushed for incremental improvements that snowballed into a big improvement. Maybe you made a key hire who can take your business to the next level. It’s important to take note of identifiable actions that improved your company so you can take similar actions in the future.
2. What went wrong?
3. What mistakes did you make?
Usually these two are more related than you may think. The snowstorm that delayed a product shipment, causing you to miss a quarterly earnings target, wasn’t your fault. But if you didn’t have the infrastructure in place to make up for lost time quickly, that might have more to do with poor contingency planning than the weather. A new C-level hire may have gone wrong due to your weak vetting process. Don’t brush aside problems with easy answers — keep asking questions until you get to the real issues. Whatever your mistakes are, own up to them.
4. What learnings will you take with you into this year?
This is about more than just what you learned running your firm. For example, what did you learn about your competitors? What technological innovations might disrupt your business? What are you learning at conferences, or at business lunches with other CEOs? Are you banking good advice from a coach or mentor? If this list isn’t long, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough to keep on top of your business space. You’re complacent, and complacency kills.
5. How can you be a more effective leader?
If you’re going to be the CEO, you have to act like the CEO. Clear your desk of all but the most essential leadership tasks: managing your company’s vision, tracking cash flow, hiring the right people for the right jobs, cultivating the key relationships that help your business run smoothly, and learning, learning, learning. Any task outside of these priorities is getting in the way of you running your company. Delegate, and get back to leading.
6. What is the #1 most important goal you want to achieve this year?
Mediocre companies are scattershot, easily distracted by shiny new things. Top companies are laser-focused on their big goal, a Huge Outrageous Target or HOT. What is that goal that might seem a little crazy, but will inspire you and your team to work harder and take the company to places it’s never been before? Are you in control of that goal? What help do you need from your key team members to hit that goal?
7. What are your 3 biggest risks going into this year?
An effective CEO sees new competition coming a mile away, anticipates evolving trends in the marketplace, and is prepared to disrupt their company to keep it dynamic and successful. What threatens your business? What are your plans to neutralize those threats?
8. Do you have the best possible people in every job?
Rate every person reporting to you as an A, B, or C. What would it take to turn the Bs into As? And the Cs, why are they still working for you? Have all your direct reports do the same for every member of their teams, and so on down the line. Top companies hire top performers, especially in the C-Suite. Who is the best person in the country, in your state, in your town for every job. If you think you can’t afford to hire that person, ask yourself a better question: Can you afford NOT to? Find a way to make that hire happen and you’ll get a multiple return on your investment.
So how did you do on the Leadership Review Test? Pass? Fail? Somewhere in between?
The point is you’re asking questions, and holding your company and yourself accountable for what went right and what went wrong last year. Study these Leadership Review questions, put the answers into action, and when you take the test again in a year’s time, you might score straight-As.