With summer approaching it’s time for a mid-year leadership “Check-Up”.
Back in January we completed a New Year’s “checklist” of 10 things we needed to do to make it a great year.
Let’s see how we’re doing against that list, with nearly six months of activity behind us.
- Take Stock of the Victories – We started the New Year by pausing and reflecting; it’s time to once again “come up for air” from the deep dive of our busy business lives. Make sure you take a day, or even just a morning, to have an informal chat with your team to consolidate your learning from the first six months.
- Analyze and Absorb Your Current Position – Just like we “studied” up in January to know our business plan inside and out, we need to analyze and absorb the year-to-date operating results, so we can make meaningful comparisons (and more importantly, any mid-course corrections).
- Perform a Self-Assessment – Take a look at those “fine print” tendencies that you filed away earlier in the year – are you pushing too hard? Did you micromanage anything you should have backed away from? Or did you overcompensate and not push hard enough?
- Assess Team Performance - Make sure the team you evaluated in January still has the right stuff in June. Are there any “cracks” in resolve, or commitment to the plan? Are there any lagging performers that need to be coached and/or reassigned? How is overall morale?
- Check the Bars – It’s time to take a realistic look at those goals you set six months ago. If you hit them already (or are about to), raise the bar again. If you are falling way short, reinvigorate your team by coming up with an intermediate “benchmark” goal and an incentive to hit it.
- Listen for the Mantras – We reduced our key goals into “bite sized” pieces and relentlessly spoke about them – now, it’s time to see if they’ve “baked in”. Spend some time with employees and listen for those mantras, without prompting them. Does speaking about them come naturally (i.e. they “get” it), or is it forced (because they “have to know”)? You’ll figure out quickly if you’ve made any headway.
- Recalibrate Accountability Meter – Did you praise appropriately, and conversely, coach and/or discipline when the need arose? Keep out of that “comfortable middle” – remember, when you are not taking proper accountability actions and staying passive it can create a poisoned atmosphere of resentment in the workplace.
- Dig Out Any Ear Wax Buildup – How are our listening skills so far? Be honest with yourself and see if you can recall any times in the first six months where teammates had to repeat themselves in front of you, or clearly were disappointed or annoyed that you were distracted during a conversation. You might need to reload on those “virtual Q-Tips” I wrote about in January.
- Monitor the Feedback Loop – It’s time to assess how much “one-on-one” time you’ve had with your direct reports, and how effective you’ve been in delivering good feedback on their performance. If your answers are “not much” and “not very”, then get some mid-year performance reviews on the calendar immediately, and make sure you are on the same page with your teammates.
- Meditate, and Rededicate - Over the years I’ve really grown to appreciate the value of meditation. Yes, the kind where you literally try to just focus your attention on your breathing, and perhaps also on a simple intention (I recently read an article in my wife’s Yoga Journal that presented scientific evidence that meditation can increase your brain’s ability to process and focus). Mid-year is a perfect time to rededicate ourselves to being centered, calm, and open minded as we tackle the rest of a hectic year.