Five uncomfortable leadership questions

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Five uncomfortable leadership questions

In my work with high performance organizations, I have come across five leadership mindsets which separate the good from the excellent. How would you rate yourself and your organization on each of these?

1. Is ‘doing more’ the default answer to ‘too much to do.’
Energy is the most precious resource of any organization. In order to focus on the few things that really matter, you have to realize that certain coasts are set apart for shipwrecks. Your ability to strategically quit equals your ability to succeed. When was the last time you fired your worst customers?

2. Does every single executive bring in business?
Business success is driven by nurturing and expanding relations in the outside world. This is an activity not limited to sales, but must be done by every high-paid employee. How much time is spent by your executives doing internal stuff instead of engaging with the external world?

3. Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?
Are you focused on maintaining the status quo, use legislation to smother competition and reward control? If so, you are playing ‘not to lose.’ Here is the problem: in the end your clients are attracted to companies which are playing to win. The same is true for top talent. How do you inspire and reward your people to think bold, big and courageous?

4. Do you eat your frog every single day?
‘Eat your frog’ is a metaphor: it means to start the day doing the things you do not like to do. These are the very things which usually hold you and your organization back from truly creating a high performance organization. What is your frog?

5. Are you building on your organizational strengths, or trying to compensate its weaknesses?
If you focus your energy on compensating your weaknesses, you will end with a large set of strong weaknesses. This is a recipe for mediocrity. What are your organizational strengths? Are your performance systems geared towards leveraging these strengths?

If you consider these five items carefully, which one improvement would have the biggest impact on your business?

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