Once Mike Meldrum ran a workshop for the MD2MD Managing Director groups on Leadership and Management. He included in the workshop a seemingly simple exercise that participants all commented they found very powerful in helping them identify how to strengthen their own leadership. I have developed and extended the exercise slightly and share the result below:
The process comprises asking – and most importantly challenging yourself – through five questions. The process only works if you really challenge yourself and are open to changing your assumptions. One (safe) approach would be to do this in private – that way no one need know about your weaknesses; or if you are brave you might do it with a coach, mentor, friend, business partner or life partner!
So – the five questions, with my own answers as examples, are:
1. What is your goal? What is it that you really want to do differently because you believe it will be important for the business but are having difficulty achieving?
I want to grow my business faster.
2. What is it that you do or do not do that works against the achievement of the goal?
I spend too much time doing the day to day things.
3. What are the disincentives or competing goals? What are the thoughts that go through your mind that make it difficult to do something different? What do your actions (or lack of them) protect you from? What worries you about changing?
I feel I need to keep bringing in the money now. Also I need to go at the pace of change my team can handle. Actually the real problem is that I don’t want to commit to too much too quickly in case it goes wrong and I fail.
4. What are the big assumptions behind those thoughts? What underpins the competing goals and the fears they arose?
I assume that by focusing on faster growth I will reduce my immediate income and risk it all going wrong.
5. Are those assumptions valid?
Well… err… looking back I realise that when I grow I generate more net income. So that one isn’t really valid. The risk is true I guess, but actually how likely is it that it will all go wrong? Again looking back, when I’ve thought ‘Let’s just go for it’ I’ve actually achieved my goals and whilst it has sometimes been stressful and hard work, I don’t think I’ve ever got close to losing anything, never mind everything. So maybe I should ‘just go for it’ again.
Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.
Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.
Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.More about Bob
- You meet your peer group privately for structured confidential conversations about real business challenges. You meet online for 90 minutes every 3 weeks.
- You attend one of a selection of open workshops led by top professional speakers sharing best practice on a wide range of leadership topics.
- You join our annual conference LeaderFest and our annual ‘Retreat to advance’.