Listen to Les McKeown read this blog post:
Many leaders don’t often think formally about growth (except when year-end strategic planning comes around).
Instead they have a sort of ‘rolling conversation’ with various people, informally and intermittently – with predictably inconsistent results.
Great growth leaders put structure into their growth planning – that’s why they achieve their growth goals more often or not, and do it with less drama and more consistently than the rest.
Here are three simple ‘nail-it-down’ questions you can answer this weekend to make yourself a structured growth leader by Monday:
1. Who’s on your growth team?
I don’t mean the growth ‘implementors’ – the people who make it happen. They’re usually (a) everybody that works for you, and (b) obvious. I don't even mean your senior leadership team (if you have one), even though some of them may be on your growth team.
What I mean is this: when it comes to strategizing about how and why to grow your organization, who advises you, consults with you, listens to you, adds perspective, challenges you, motivates and encourages you in your role as the organizations MSE (Most Senior Executive)?
It's unfair to expect your senior leadership team to fulfill all of these roles. It's also unrealistic. Frankly, no matter how strong-minded and independent they may be, they still work for you. They still depend on your assessment of them for job security. You need additional, external voices who can provide you with a strong, independent challenge function.
So, who's on your growth team? Not sure? Varied, and variable? Depends who’s around at the time?
Well, if that’s so, then that's precisely the sort of growth you’ll get: unsure, varied and variable, undependable.
Get out a sheet of paper and write down the names of three to five people you most want to formally help you think about growth in a planned way.
They may work for or with you, or they may not. The may already mentor you in another area, or they may not even know you yet.
Point is, you should know who they are – write their names down.
2. When and how will you meet?
Once you know who you're going to recognize as your growth team, how will you meet with them?
Individually? Together? A bit of both (my recommendation)?
How often will you meet - Once a year for a growth-fest? Every week until you get clear on your growth goals? Quarterly after your board meeting? As a formal group in businesswear around a conference table, or at a ski / golf resort in casuals, knocking around ideas with a great view? A combination of both?
It's less important to get the structure perfect than that you’re clear on what the ‘when and how’ will look like and get it scheduled. Personally, I recommend a short burst to start with – maybe three monthly meetings in a row (much easier now that we're all Zoom-proficient) until you get clear on your growth goals – then bi-annually (twice-a-year) after that.
I also recommend a once-a-year structured event with tight timelines and a light-touch semi-formal dress and expectations, but your mileage may vary. The important thing is that you do it.
3. What’s your role in this group?
Great growth leaders rarely lead their organization's growth discussions. Just saying.
You might be so used to being at the head of the table that you would find this weird or off-putting, but the more you can put yourself in listening and prodding mode, and the less you’re in agenda-directing and orchestra-conducting mode, the more you’ll get out of the process.
So write those names down, and get started - by Monday…right?
How are you structuring your growth team?
More you can do over a weekend