...and other leaders too!
As you're hustling to close out 2014 and 2015 is now in sight, there are 3 words to keep in mind. These actions can help you do your job better everyday as you lead your organization into the future. Reflect, plan, and embrace.
Learn by reflecting on your personal, your team's and your company's history and the way things work in your unique company culture. Apply these shared learnings to your everyday decision-making process, which will allow you to be proactive in your daily activities and predict potential wins and issues before they occur. There is nothing a CEO likes better than a CIO that can anticipate what will be happening next and the resolve to have it work out in their favor. The best players are the ones that skate to where the puck is going to be. As you reflect on what has worked in 2014, rejoice with your team on the team's successes and do post-mortems on the distractions and failures. Share privately and apply these learnings to anticipate and prevent future issues.
Put together a strategic plan for your team. It is best if you work as a facilitator and provide guidelines and collaborate with your team to build the plan. The outcome should be a handful of strategic initiatives that are SMART*. These initiatives should be transformational in nature (i.e. strategic) and, in our case at Cloudbakers, they usually fall into one of the following categories: Operations, Product, Culture & People, Sales, Marketing & Financial. Choose one or two (maximum) initiatives in each area; not all categories need to be represented. Be realistic and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure each initiative doesn’t go too far in depth, but has just enough guidance so your goal can be met. As you discuss each one, have members of your leadership team volunteer for the areas that they feel strongly about. If no one volunteers, either assign them or cross the initiative off the list since it's not important enough for someone to embrace.
As an example at Cloudbakers, we have a great team and will continue to build a great team. This is due to one of our recent minor initiatives which was to define our core values. We use this definition to measure every hire and every team member. It simplifies the hiring and evaluation process, while making it easy for each team member to know what's expected of them.
*SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
The only thing that is certain is change. Embrace change. It’s important to plan, but it’s even more important to seize the day and be able to pivot a project or a situation for the benefit of the business. It's your job to keep the lights on in your daily operations, but it is even more important to question everything. Always keep a fresh set of eyes. Your less experienced team members can provide the proper balance of fresh eyes with senior leaders providing the wisdom to come up with truly innovative ideas that will make you and your team superstars. There are enough roadblocks that you have to face in your everyday tasks as it is. Don’t accept or put up your own roadblocks just to keep the status quo. Your job is to remove roadblocks from your business and your team. This involves being an agent of change. True leaders use their ability to be agents of change to make their organization better. Change is transformational and directly leads to innovation and can be rewarded with exponential returns.
Please reach out to me if you would like to experience how Cloudbakers can assist your organization by bringing the human element to technology.Originally published on December 22, 2014