Column: Are you dependable?


What if you could be a fly on the wall in the break room after the next staff meeting in which you passionately rolled out three new initiatives?

Is it possible that you would hear the following phrase: “Don’t worry about it, he’ll forget all about these ideas by the middle of next month”?

Now let me ask a really painful question – Have you been the leader who has forgotten all about those great ideas just a few weeks later?

We all have.

As a leader, we are constantly coming up with great ideas to improve our company. The problem is that we are always coming up with great ideas to improve our company!

As a result, your staff never knows which idea you will really latch on to and enforce on a regular basis. So, they tend take all of your initiatives a little less seriously (aka – ignore) than they should. Unfortunately, you can’t get too mad at them because you can barely remember all of the edicts you have issued in the last 60 days.

The truth is that you can’t implement every single great idea, or as the author Patrick Lencioni says, “If everything is important, then nothing is important.”

Here’s a process that will help decide what’s really essential.

Every time an amazing idea pops into your head, rank its merit before you do anything (like sending out a mass email or scheduling an emergency meeting).

To determine the viability of your brilliant idea, utilize the following statements to rank its value and see if it’s worth pursuing. Use a 1-10 scale with 1 = completely disagree and 10 = completely agree. You aren’t allowed to sit on the fence at all so no 5’s allowed.

  • There is a clear link between the implementation of this idea and our most important annual goals.
  • We have the skill sets and expertise required to execute this new idea.
  • The amount of effort/resources required to implement this idea is minimal.
  • This idea will provide an enormous boost to the morale of our team.

Once complete, calculate an average. If the average is below a seven and your team is busy, than your new idea probably needs to be put on the back burner.

I am not suggesting that you create a work environment that discourages innovation and new ideas – they are critical to your success. I am simply encouraging you to develop the discipline to focus on the tactics that help achieve your goals.

This discipline is one of the factors that separates the exceptional successful leaders from the rest.

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