Ask the question: ‘How am I doing?’

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Assess the bottom line and culture of your organization to keep it healthy. Here are the questions you’ll need to answer and the steps you’ll take, divided into four key parts:

Part 1. Key financial drivers
  • “What makes us money?”

  • “What costs us money?”

  • “What’s our long-term vision?”

  • “What are our key strategies?”

  • “How are we performing?”
Action steps:
  • Review the financial reports and indicators.

  • Assess anything that’s unclear about the operation’s financial performance.

  • Spend time with your financial people to talk about specific drivers and indicators.

Part 2. Understanding the business
  • “What functions directly affect our fiscal performance?”

  • “What’s the primary role of each functional area?”

  • “How do functional strategies affect our overall performance?”
Action steps:
  • Assess your working knowledge of each functional area.

  • Identify the appropriate subject-matter experts.

  • Schedule an informational interview with each expert.

  • Prepare for the interviews by drafting an outline of issues and questions.

Part 3. Corporate culture
  • “Do we value everybody’s ideas?”

  • “How hierarchical are we?”

  • “Do we promote cross-functional development?”

  • “Does our climate promote open and honest communication?”
Action steps:
  • Reflect on your own view of the culture and seek insights from colleagues.

  • Judge how well the culture aligns with your own belief system.

  • Gauge your potential for long-term success in the existing culture.

Part 4. Political climate
  • “How political an environment do we live in across units, departments, divisions and organization-wide?”

  • “How does this environment align with my beliefs and personal goals?”

  • “Am I overly influenced by my own agenda? How about others?”

  • “Am I a good steward of the organization?”
Action steps:

Draw your own conclusions about the political environment.

Ask others up and down the line for their opinions.

Observe how other leaders behave.

Determine how well the climate feels in light of your beliefs and goals, then decide whether you’ll thrive in it, change it or leave.

— Adapted from Corporate Confidential: What It Really Takes To Get To The Top, Susan A. DePhillips, Platinum Press.

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