The mid-year 4th of July holiday gives good leaders time to think and ponder mid-course corrections.

With the 4th of July holiday now in the rear view mirror, we have officially passed the mid-year mark for any business that runs on the calendar year for business planning. Now is an excellent time to take advantage of the lazy, hazy days of summer to pause, reflect on the first half of the year, and adjust for the second half of the year. Here are three questions the coaches at Good Leadership encourage you to ask about your enterprise:

1. Are the leaders aligned?

2. If aligned, are they committed?

3. Do you have open accountability where people help each other succeed?

When I first ask these questions in my coaching practice, often even the most sophisticated clients ask the question: “How do I really know?”  Whether you are a CEO, a business owner, or anyone rallying a team to accomplish something special, here’s a way of answering the “How do I really know?” questions – derived from the groundbreaking research we did to produce the How Goodness Pays book

When leaders are aligned, it’s easier to get commitment and open accountability.

How do I really know if the leaders around me are aligned?

  • We agree on the Big Opportunity we are pursuing together – and how we will all benefit when we make it happen.
  • We agree our plan to get there is compelling – we’re equally excited about the “how” the “what” and “who” we are working with along the way.
  • We consistently work by a shared set of values that make us better both personally and professionally.

So, if I think we are aligned: How do I know if the leaders around me are committed?

  • Are we consistently sharing resources effectively, including financial incentives when we win together?
  • Is everyone involved willing to work on their own development, so we are all getting better together?
  • Are the teams consistently fueled by positive and collective energy?

When commitment is shaky, accountability is seldom on target.

So, if I believe we are aligned and committed: How do I know if we have open accountability?

  • Do we have an open discussion, with input from a wide variety of people about how we measure up to a consistent set of leadership expectations?
  • Are we sharing our individual and team goals, on a public scorecard, with specific milestones we can review together as a team?
  • Do we maintain a culture of healthy tension, where peers and colleagues routinely speak up, with zero cost of being candid?

The triggering thought for this blog came after two CEO meetings I had the week before the holiday. Each was asking these questions with similar stimulation – something just isn’t right within the top leadership corps of each of their organizations. In other words: accountability is lacking, because a few people are not committed, because they are not aligned. 

In my intellectually-honest self-reflection, I realized I have some of that same stuff happening in my own firm. So, we are making some mid-course corrections to get back on track. Because that’s what good leaders do.

So, it’s mid-year. What mid-course corrections are you making to get to the next level?