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A Dashboard for Managing Complexity: Part 4 of 5

By: Patrick Williams

Michael Useem, The Wharton School professor and bestselling author, has published The Leader’s Checklist to create a clear roadmap for navigating any situation. Key questions help customize the list to fit specific needs. The first three were published in my previous post, here is part two.

  1. Take Charge and Act Decisively: Embrace a bias for action by taking responsibility, even if it isn’t formally delegated. Make good and timely decisions, and ensure they are executed.
    • Are you prepared to take charge, even when you are not in charge?
    • If so, do you have the capacity and position to embrace responsibility?
    • For technical decisions, are you ready to delegate, but not abdicate?
    • Are most of your decisions both good and timely?
    • Do you convey your strategic intent and then let others reach their own decisions?
  2. Communicate Persuasively: Communicate in ways that people will not forget, through use of personal stories and examples that back up ideas. Simplicity and clarity are critical.
    • Are messages about vision, strategy and character crystal-clear and indelible?
    • Have you mobilized all communication channels, from purely personal to social media?
    • Can you deliver a compelling speech before the elevator passes the 10th floor?
  3. Motivate the Troops, and Honor the Front Lines: Appreciate the distinctive intentions that people bring to their work; build on diversity to bring out the best in people. Delegate authority except for strategic decisions. Stay close to those who are most directly engaged with the enterprise’s work.
    • Have you identified each person’s “hot button” and focused on it?
    • Do you work personal pride and shared purpose into most communications?
    • Are you keeping some ammunition dry for those urgent moments when you need it?
    • Have you made your intent clear and empowered those around you to act?
    • Do you regularly meet with those in direct contact with customers?
    • Can your people communicate their ideas and concerns to you?
  4. Build Leadership in Others, and Plan for Succession: Develop leadership throughout the organization, giving people opportunities to make decisions, manage others and obtain coaching.
    • Are all managers expected to build leadership among their subordinates?
    • Does the company culture foster the effective exercise of leadership?
    • Are leadership development opportunities available to most, if not all, managers?