Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • minute read

How great leaders investigate 

Listen to Les McKeown read this blog post:

Audio version not yet available – please check back later.

In a previous post we looked at the seven-word summary of how to effectively grow an organizationconsistently making and implementing high quality decisions, and we saw that doing so involves three stages:

1. Investigation, 2. Interpretation and 3. Implementation.

I suggested that most of us are weak in one or more of these three areas. 

To be specific, when it comes to the first area (Investigation), the three most common weaknesses I see in managers and leaders or organizations are usually one of:

1. Intellectual Rigor:

By this I mean the commitment to asking as many questions as are necessary to uncover all the material information surrounding any needed decision. 

In too many cases, leaders of organizations operate at the extremes of either going mostly by their gut instinct and ignoring valid data, or depending so much on data that they suffer from paralysis by analysis.

2. Financial Understanding:

This involves the ability to read and understand the key aspects of an Income Statement, a Balance Sheet and a Cash Flow Projection. 

I was a CPA by training, and while I’m not suggesting that everyone train themselves to CPA levels, I do see a different level of decision-making when those involved clearly understand the key financial elements involved.

I’d go so far as to say that if you don’t acquire at least a minimal level of understanding of financial statements, you will limit the level of seniority at which you’ll be able to operate.

3. Embracing External Change:

Great leaders have a commitment to identify, assess and embrace positive change agents, and to identify, assess and account for unavoidable negative change agents.

Others are trapped either by the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome, where if ‘we’ didn’t come up with it, it ain’t any good; or its opposite: the NBG (Next Big Thing) syndrome, where we’re always looking for a nice shiny new outside initiative we can import and use.

What About You - When you’re gathering the data necessary for a decision, do you have and use intellectual rigor, financial understanding, and a positive approach to external change? Or are you winging it on one or more of these?

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!