Leaders, Plan, Assess, Achieve

It is that transitional week between the end of one year and the start of something new, and as a leader there is a lot to consider. People are busy taking down Christmas trees, setting up their IRAs, closing out their tax year and taking inventory for one last time. Is that really what true leaders should be doing?

True leaders should be grappling with the long game. They should be working on their vision for future goals; not just their personal accomplishments but the goals for their team. They have to consider opportunities and challenges within their team. Who is the highest performer, and how do they develop that high performer and utilize their talent to create extraordinary results? Also, they must plan for succession within the team and hire the best person to replace members as talent evolves. Great leaders are always working on their team because their team is busy working for them. Great leaders are motivational and they create intrinsic rewards to ensure success. They plan, assess and achieve. They have an unwavering vision that sees beyond the challenge and the "we can't" into places only they can visualize. And yes, sometimes to achieve long-term success they need to be courageous.

How do they do it? Well, first of all, they have the sustained belief in the outcome, but they also hire the best people. They don't just rely on​ a nice resume or a fancy suit during the interview process, nor do they rely on their gut. And, they don't just settle on the combination. Too often, a candidate can bluff their way through an interview. I certainly made a bad hire, a time or two in my career. What about you? A bad hire can cost you in the long game. And, sometimes facts are not quite as they seem. Candidates have been known to embellish a resume. And does a resume capture the true behavioral characteristics of a candidate? How do you know if they will be on time, or show up at all for that matter? Once they get their benefits, will they be loyal to you? Will they adhere to deadlines, policies and procedures? Or will they be difficult to manage? What is a leader to do?

Plan, assess and achieve. Assess means perform an actual assessment on the candidates to ensure that not only are they passionate about the type of work but also that they meet the criteria needed to fulfill the team dynamic. A good assessment will give you an accurate match for the position you need to fill and it will enable you to determine if the candidate is a good fit in your team dynamic. And, for this you need to plan. You need to know your team gaps, and once you know them, you need to be relentless in the pursuit of candidates that meet your actual needs. This should be a part of your interview process.

For example, you need to know, are all of your current team members extroverts who are highly social and want to sell your service but have limited ability to analyze data or enhance value? Or, are all of your team members introverts who want to analyze and test performance but really are not willing to welcome customers and expand the market? This is why you need to visualize your team running at peak performance; just like a machine. Is your team running on empty? It may be running but is it running well? Is your team sluggish or just not able to fill all of the roles required to perform well in our competitive market? Is everyone on-board the bus and in the right seats? Do you have empty seats? Study your responses to these questions. If you are unsure of the answers or if your net revenue is flat or declining, then you do need to recalibrate. You can't change your competition, but you can change your performance. What do you need, or better yet, who do you need? Taking the time this week, when you are away from the meetings, the projects, and the team will give you the time to think clearly and establish your vision for the year.

This is the time at the start of the New Year to recalibrate and reach for a performance assessment that measures learning styles, behavior styles and interests. Have your current team members take it, assess their group results, and plan to fill the gaps with your next new hire. If you are ready to begin the plan, let's arrange a call to step you through the process of recalibrating your team for long-term success. Start 2019 from a place of strength; your competition will.

Admission Network is an executive coaching and educational consulting firm in Metro Atlanta

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