There is a disconnect between you and your teammembers if they cannot identify how the priorities of
the big picture translate to specic, actionable steps.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• How often do I communicate a vision for mybusiness?
• Have I identied and communicated three to ve
key priorities for achieving this vision?• If asked, could my employees articulate my visionand priorities?
ow are you spending your time? This question ispainfully simple, yet it plays a major role in theexecution of your vision and priorities. Time is yourmost precious asset. Sadly, many leaders cannotaccurately answer this question. It’s vital for them totrack their time so they can gain a realistic, honestassessment of how their time is allocated. You may
be surprised to nd a disconnect between your top
priorities and how you actually spend your time.People take their cues from the leader when it comesto time management. Actions, business priorities andyour team’s activities must match.Time allocation may vary, depending on time of year,personnel changes and external factors. Nonetheless,time management must become a conscious decision
that ts your vision and priorities. A periodic review
of how you invest your time is vital, similar to your
approach to reviewing your nancial investments.
• How am I spending my time? Does this match my keypriorities?• How are my subordinates spending their time? Doesthis match my business’ key priorities?
eedback is a two-way street. You must assess howwell you give and receive it. Many well-intentionedleaders fail to provide blunt, direct and timely feedbackto their subordinates.This problem occurs for several reasons. Commonly,managers are afraid that criticism will demoralizeemployees, discussions will become confrontational,or frank conversations will result in their not beingliked. This prompts many managers to postponegiving feedback until it’s time for annual performancereviews.This is a big mistake. People are more receptive tolearning about themselves when feedback is offeredthroughout the year, as situations arise. EmployeesKaplan assures us that successful executives canconsistently improve their performance and preemptserious business problems by stepping back and takingthe time to interview themselves (“What to Ask thePerson in the Mirror,”
Harvard Business Review
Seven Leadership Checkpoints
he seven areas leaders should examine are:1. Vision and Priorities2. Managing Time3. Feedback4. Succession Planning5. Evaluation and Alignment6. Leading Under Pressure7. Staying True to Yourself Coming up with good answers is far less importantthan taking the time to ask yourself hard questionsand honestly examine your strengths and weaknesses.The questions suggested in each of these leadershipareas are intended to spark your thinking. If only a
subset of them resonates with you, you may nd it
more interesting to come up with your own list of questions.The goal here is to gain valuable insights into howyou can stay on track as the business environmentconstantly changes. You can use this leadershipchecklist every few months for self-assessment.
Vision and Priorities
any business leaders fail to ask themselves twoimportant questions:1. How frequently do I communicate a vision and thepriorities for my business?2. Would my employees, if asked, be able to articulatethe vision and priorities?
It is difcult to lead people if they lack a rm grasp of
where they’re heading and what’s expected of them.Unfortunately, in the rush of day-to-day activities,otherwise talented leaders fail to communicate
sufciently about the “why” of their companies. They
neglect to explain their vision in an easily understoodmanner, not to mention the steps required of thepeople who are responsible for driving business.Employees want to know where a business is headingand the areas on which they need to focus. Manymanagers either unintentionally under-communicate
or fail to articulate specic priorities that would give
meaning to their vision. However often you think youdiscuss vision and strategy, you’re probably not doing
it enough or in sufcient detail for your people.