Great leaders always ask questions to ensure the next step forward produces a desirable outcome.
With that in mind, they guardrail their questions along lines such as these:
- What is the ROI?
- Is it profitable?
- Do we penetrate a new market?
- Is it aligned with our brand?
- Can we do it with quality?
- Is it us?
- Can we execute reasonably?
- Will this scale well?
All good questions that are essential to guiding business decisions forward.
But there is one question, however, that is more of a veiled excuse than a reasonable question:
Who Else Does This?
The question seems innocent at first – if the practice, service, product, or company is in play from a reputable industry, company, or even a competitor, then it has credibility. The power of a testimonial plays well here; however it’s a guardrail question laden with a key pitfall.
Quite simply, if a practice, service, product, or company is good enough to merit consideration, what does it matter who uses it? Here’s where the question falls short:
- Someone has to be the first to use it.
- Sometimes a service meets the need of smaller, reputable companies rather than a big, well-known one
- Relying on others hampers your brand
- Waiting for others stifles innovation and first-to-market strategies
Try instead to answer the question as such:
- Does it meet our needs?
- Will it help us in our goals?
- Why not be the industry trailblazer?
Having that pioneering mindset as a leader will make you a more decisive leader and propel your organization to make better decisions based on your needs, and not another’s.
We live in the most connected world ever. Social media, cell phones, satellite broadcasts, internet – we have launched so many methods to reach out and touch someone across the globe.
Yet how connected are we, truly, with our own teams?
Have we connected the dots within our organizations? Are there opportunities where teams and individuals are isolated from each other? In a connected organization, people having access to everything and everyone is where it’s at.
Here are some real definitions of what connection is about:
Connect. To link people, A to Z, Amanda to Zech. Join together to provide access, communication. It’s vital to understand this concept as your starting point.
Connector. The person doing the connecting. The leader, but building everyone into connectors themselves. As a leader, are you instigating connection? Are you developing others to be connectors as well?
Connected. All systems are set up. The process is in place, and working. All points lead to everywhere.
Connection. An established link between two or more people. An relationship in which a person, idea, or things is linked to someone or something else. Every connection is unique based on the people’s needs from each other.
Connecting. To build the personal open network. The process of bringing together. What are you doing each day to bring people together?
It may seem like a lot, but the process to start is quite easy. How does a leader connect?
Build trust & mutual respect. People only connect with those of common bond and trust. This foundation is critical to any relationship.
Open communication – both ways. A conduit provides access from A to B, but does not restrict the flow to just one way. Foster and develop people to open the lines. This can only happen when the trust and respect above is established.
Make sure all points/dots are connected. Anyone not in the loop? Everyone have access to everyone else, resources, vision? Make every effort to link everyone, through formal and informal means, systems, personnel functions, and so on. “No employee left behind.”
Check for weak connection links. Daily. Examine every interaction in your organization against the connection model. Find the weak links. Fix them, or replace them, before the chain snaps.
Foster and encourage internal & external connection. Within the organization, yes. Outside of the organization, even better. Get your people connected and involved w/ mentors outside, organizations, and associations. Don’t make your organization an island. Connect entire teams, companies, and industries with this connectivity culture and watch the magic happen.
We live in the “connection economy” today. Don’t circumvent your people. Work on connecting everyone to form a stronger web of vision and synergy.
Mark Miller is an accomplished leadership author whose day job is as puts it “selling chicken.”
As Vice President of High Performance Leadership for Chick-Fil-A, Mark knows what it tskes to make and duplicate leaders throughout a large organization. he has a passion for developing and teaching, and his new book that released earlier this year, Leaders Made Here, continnues on that path to leadeship development that Mark started many years ago. We appreciate his sharing his wisdom and insight with us today.
Originally published on GreatLeadersServe.com
Leaders face obstacles daily, and often, we may not even think much about it. Challenges are just part of what we do. But what about a new leader, what issues does he or she face? What mistakes do you see new leaders make that could be avoided?
The following issues are often contributing factors when you see a new leader have a false start…
No vision – Leadership always begins with a picture of the future. People expect their leaders to have a destination in mind. Our followers have many questions for us even if we are new… “What are we trying to accomplish? What are we trying to become? Why does it matter?” As soon as possible, begin to paint a picture of the future. A partially formed vision is better than no vision at all.
Too few questions – The majority of leaders, new and seasoned, ask too few questions. This is extremely dangerous for the new leader. He or she may make countless bad assumptions that could be avoided with some carefully crafted questions: What are the biggest opportunities around here? What’s your favorite, and least favorite, thing about working here? Etc.
Insufficient context – The likelihood of this being a major issue for the new leader is in direct proportion to the number of questions he/she asks. What you don’t know can hurt you. Lack of context can make a leader look incompetent and out of touch. As a new leader, you are trying to build credibility and trust. You don’t have any chips to burn.
Moving too fast – or too slow – This one is tricky. Every situation is different. And, every situation demands its own pace. If you move too fast, the odds of a disaster escalate. When you move too quickly, you are at risk of missing the context and making bad decisions. The flip side – if you move too slowly, many will question your courage, competence and your leadership. Trust your instincts and remember… Progress is always preceded by change.
Trying to make everyone happy – This is a curse every leader must face and defeat. If you are a new leader, you are probably hypersensitive on this issue. You really do want people to like you – most human beings share a degree of this sentiment. However, leaders know to succumb to this desire dooms your leadership from the beginning. Your goal is not to make people angry – it is to lead with all diligence. If you work to make everyone happy, you’ll work yourself out of a job.
If you are a new leader, congratulations! Get ready for a fast start.
What mistakes do you see new leaders make?
Mark Miller is the best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs.