Do you ever have those projects when deadlines are missed and no one knows why?  Meetings were held, minutes were taken and actions doled out.  And yet.  The project wasn’t completed as committed.

What happens then?

Everyone looks at the other person, wanting to place blame on the ‘other guy’.

What if as a leader, you examined all possibilities?  Including your role in the results not being delivered?

In fact, what if you were to look at what you wanted, what you asked for and what you held others accountable for?  Are you satisfied with these areas or is there something missing?

I’ve been working a respected leader in an emerging technology business.  Everyone in the business loves working with ‘Sue’.  She’s a visionary, is affable and treats her employees well.  People like her a lot; however, she’s not driving the results that are needed for the business.  That’s how Sue and I started working together.

The area that is getting in the way Sue’s success shows up in three ways:

  • Being clear about what she wants
  • Gaining commitment from others
  • Following through and holding others accountable

As a leader, Sue is great at creating the vision and celebrating success.  She’s not good with the middle parts.

In working together, we first discovered that Sue has difficulty being clear about what she wants.  It’s not that she doesn’t know, it’s that she doesn’t know how to ask for it.   Therefore, her goal on a weekly basis is to capture the following things, in all parts of her life, in a journal:

  • Sue is to notice throughout the day, what does she want?
    • Part of this is to identify if she knows what she really wants, as she often defers to others and their opinions and desires.
  • When Sue notices what she really wants, how is she asking for it?
    • Often what happens with people who are in this place, is they struggle with asking for specifically for what they want.
  • Is Sue gaining commitment from others in delivering what she wants? How does she know?
    • It’s common for people to agree to things; however, gaining agreement and commitment are two different things. I want Sue to begin to notice the difference.
  • How is Sue following through and holding others accountable?
    • This aspect is also hard for people who haven’t consistently done this in the past. And, this is an important piece to the overall success in driving good business results. 
  • And, finally, when Sue doesn’t express what she wants and others move forward with their wants, how does she feel about it?
    • Not uncommon for people in this case to feel resigned, resentful, angry…

Starting in this place will provide Sue with valuable insights so that we can continue to see how to leverage her current strengths and develop new leadership capabilities.