Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Be a Visionary Leader in 2018

by Kathy Cooperman

The new year is a perfect time to step back and evaluate the health of leadership in your organization. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one best style to effectively lead others to success. Your organization is one of a kind. It’s made up of unique people, resources, history, special challenges and goals. All successful businesses, however, are led by leaders who are skilled at the following basic competencies:

1. Creating a clear and compelling vision
2. Building commitment through influence
3. Implementing the vision
4. Getting things done

This year we’ll begin our leadership journey by focusing on vision. No matter what level of leadership you occupy, be clear about the “strategic map” for your organization. How well can you answer the following critical questions?

* How clearly can you articulate the strategic objectives in easy-to-understand language?
* What are your organization’s greatest strengths and challenges, given the current business situation?
* What are the most pressing business demands over the next six months?
* What are the supporting and opposing forces to achieving your vision?
* How does each unit (department, group) fit into the overall strategic plan?

Once you can clearly answer each of these questions, ask yourself how well others on your team understand these same critical success factors.

Consider holding a team meeting to review these and gain clarity so everyone is “marching toward true north.” It’s a common problem to have well-meaning team members working hard but pulling in different directions.

After you’re confident that you and your team are in sync about the company’s direction over the next several months, take a look at role expectations. The next critical questions to address include:

* Given our strategic objectives and current situation, what is required of each person on our team? What specific behaviors do our leaders need to display in order to successfully achieve our business outcomes?
* What are the leader behaviors that I, personally, must follow to effectively lead and inspire my team? How well am I currently performing those leader behaviors?

Hold a meeting to share your refined vision — paint a crystal-clear picture of what the ideal state will look like when your team achieves success. Invite questions from team members, being sure to keep an open mind. You want to invite and then carefully listen to all questions that could uncover confusion, skepticism or concern about the future direction. You might also hear creative suggestions to further enhance your vision.

A common trap is for leaders to get defensive at this point and take any criticism or questions personally. This reaction only shuts down the open communication that helps create a trusting, free flow of information.

On the flip side, I’ve seen many instances of leaders avoiding this trap and gaining tremendous insight into potential pitfalls that they may not have otherwise been aware of.

Take charge in 2018! Re-examine your business strategy. Become a visionary leader. Crystalize the vision and share it with everyone to kick-start a great year!


Kathy Cooperman, an executive coach and leadership expert, is the president and founder of KC Leadership Consulting LLC. For more information, contact her at kathy@kathycooperman.com, www.kathycooperman.com or 720.542.3324.

Submitted 279 days ago
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