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Top 10 Action Steps for Impact Leaders

There are over 30,000 leadership books available on Amazon. Countless articles, podcasts, and keynotes are created every year that are jam-packed with principles of leadership. However, only a small number of those resources actually answer one of the most pressing questions facing any leader: what should I do next?
According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, eight out of ten adults believe that being honest, intelligent, and decisive are essential leadership traits. (Pew Research Center) Team members expect their leaders to be able to make a decision and take an action step to be an effective leader.
Our InteGREAT team compiled our top ten action steps for leaders looking to implement in building an integrity-driven leadership reach. Note: these are not necessarily sequential in order; some steps may need to be prioritized ahead of others depending on your unique leadership context.
Interested in a free tool that we use weekly at InteGREAT?
Check out the “Start/Stop/Continue” List Here

01 | Define a Common Purpose.
A mission statement can sometimes become nothing more than a placard greeting for office visitors. “Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence.” Those words were the motto of the scandal-sunk Enron Corporation. More companies are rewriting their mission statements as a single-purpose statement. What’s your purpose?
You as the leader need to help define your organization’s common purpose. What captures the vision of your organization in a clear and compelling way? What is the one purpose that you can align and engage your team around?
If you have a mission statement, you need to ruthlessly evaluate how well it embodies your organization’s purpose. Does every one of your team members know what they can do to help fulfill that purpose?
If you don’t have a mission or purpose statement, now is your chance to create one with your senior leadership influencers. When your team embraces a common purpose, you can make the shift from activity to accomplishment.
02 | Pursue shared goals together.
As the saying goes, “Goals are dreams with deadlines attached.” Goals give your team a rallying point to start working together in the same direction. Goals also give your team a benchmark for evaluating whether you’re on track or missing the mark.
Create monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for your team. Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. If you’re a restaurant, a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be saying that you want to sell 185 flame-broiled cheeseburgers in the month of October.
Write down your S.M.A.R.T. goals and post them around your organization. Identify specific tactics that can help you achieve your goals. Refer to your goals throughout your time frame. Make adjustments where needed and keep your team pursuing the same goals together.
03 | Track your results with an established Team Scorecard.
How is your team performing when it comes to your shared goals? What’s measured can be changed. What can be changed can be improved. It’s always helpful to track your team’s results with a weekly scorecard to measure your progress along the way. This allows your team to see how well your efforts are achieving the results you want over time.
04 | Recruit and select Talent based on character and skills.  
Building a team takes time and energy. Rebuilding your team because you didn’t hire the right person in the first place takes even more time and energy and causes frustration. The team with the most talent usually wins, but sometimes it’s the right talent in the right places that make a greater impact.
Great leaders create a clear profile of who they are looking for and then go after the best. Learn to master the art of recruiting and talent selection. Build your team’s bench of leadership talent based on two questions:

  • Does this person have the character to be a good leader?
  • Do they also have the skill set to be a good leader?

Start by asking yourself these questions about your current team. It may mean you need to have a hard conversation with a long-standing team member. It’s better to make the change now than wishing you did in the future.
05 | Clarify your team’s roles.  
The initial question to ask is “Who does what?” The better question is “Who should do what?” It’s up to you as a leader to determine whose skill set is the best fit for every area of your operations. Every organization is unique so establishing clear roles, written responsibilities, and understood expectations for individuals, teams, and even yourself gives your organization the best opportunity for maximum effectiveness.
One of the best action steps a leader can take at times is to review job roles and responsibilities with individual team members. Are they happy or frustrated with their current role? What parts of their job bring them the most joy, and what brings them the most angst? Be prepared to redefine a team member’s job role and responsibility to best fit their fulfillment and your organization’s needs.
06 | Build a Cross-Functional team.
InteGREAT is built on integrity (Inte-) and greatness (GREAT). For a team to be great, they need the integrity to know what needs to change. Everything rises and falls on leadership, which is why the first part of building a cross-functional team is to examine your own capacity. Use the “Start / Stop / Continue” list from InteGREAT to evaluate your own disciplines. This list will help you know what you need to:

  • Start doing to be a better leader;
  • Stop doing that doesn’t work or creates roadblocks for your team;
  • Continue doing that’s already working well.

This only works if you’re honest with yourself. Once you’ve seen your results, ask your senior leadership influencers for their feedback on your evaluation. You need to be vulnerable with your team and let them speak into what your strengths and weaknesses are.
The best teams in the world are made up of individuals with a complimentary set of attributes. Take individual team members through the “Start / Stop / Continue” list together to gauge how their personality, background, talent, and skill set can be used to maximize their impact.
Download the InteGREAT “Start / Stop / Continue” List For Free Here
07 | Develop Individual Skills and Team Skills.
What does each individual on your team do well? And, what does your team do well as a collective unit? Individual skill gaps need to be addressed and closed. Team skills need to be realized and coached towards success. Solving problems, making decisions, achieving goals, and resolving conflict are just four of the many team skills that a team needs to master for high performance levels.
Your own skills as a leader will set the ceiling on your team’s potential. If you’re going to develop as a leader, you have to start with being honest about your own skill set. You need to evaluate where your skills are before you can start working to improve them. 
08 | Lead valuable meetings.
“I hate meetings. Meetings are pointless and boring. We never get anything done and they’re a huge waste of time.” If you’ve heard these types of sentiments, chances are they were caused by leaders who didn’t fully understand the value of a meeting. Great meetings happen when high-performance teams set goals, solve problems, hold each other accountable, celebrate ‘wins’, and monitor performance.

  • Does this meeting need to be in-person? If not, would a conference call be a better use of everyone’s time, including travel? Would an email be more effective?
  • Guard your guest list to the meeting. Too many meetings have the wrong people in them – people who aren’t in a position to contribute to the conversation. Know who needs to be in the room with you and make sure they’re on the invite list.
  • Set a start time and a stop time for your meeting.
  • If you have an hour blocked out for a recurring meeting, consider whether you can run a more efficient version of the meeting in thirty minutes.
  • Have an agenda and send it out ahead of time. If people need to contribute, share your expectations with enough heads-up time to prepare.

09 | Solve problems as a team.
How many times have you been tempted to fix a problem yourself… this week? Leadership is not one person trying to fix everything on their own. Leadership relies on team members to accomplish a vision together. Your team needs to be united in purpose and united in problems. Your team’s finest hour may be when everyone comes together and collectively uses their brains, experiences, and creativity to take on a challenge.
10 | Build an authentic community for your team.
You have the privilege of leading people from all backgrounds and interests to become a unified team. The best teams understand and pursue the power of “we” over me. Growing together as a team means intentionally building trust, honesty, and loyalty among team members. When teams share, serve, celebrate, grieve, love, learn, and grow together, they turbo-charge their performance.
The Chess Not Checkers leadership program from InteGREAT is about building a team that’s honest, vulnerable, and tight-knit through whatever challenges you may face that goes beyond your time at work together. Integrity-inspired leadership is at the heart of impact leadership. It’s the same approach to leadership that’s built world-changing organizations like Chick-fil-A, Advocare, and more.
Learn more about the InteGREAT Leadership “Start / Stop / Continue” here

Is it Time to Say it Differently?

Do you ever feel like no one is listening? Like you are Charlie Brown’s teacher, wah, wah, wah, wah?
It might be time to imagine you are a baseball pitcher and change things up.
In their book, Made to Stick, Authors Chip and Dan Heath say, “The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.”
[Tweet ““The most basic way to get someone’s attention is to break a pattern.” – Chip & Dan Heath”]
Is there a message in your organization that feels tired and worn? If so, today is the day to say it in a new way.
Randy
What message do you need to change up in your organization?
Comment Below …

Empower Your People to do Great Things

And so it begins … political season officially kicks off today with the Iowa Caucuses as America seeks to find its next leader.
In the spirit of the season, I was reminded of the quote from former US president, Ronald Reagan … “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
[Tweet “The best teams have leaders who are focused on making those around them better.”]
As you begin a new month of work you will be tempted to focus on your job. If you really want to be great, spend a bulk of your time focused on your people. Empower, resource, and encourage others to do great things and you will be well on your way to greatness.
Randy
Do you know a leader who empowers those around them? What effect do you think it has on their team?
Comment Below …

Do You Go First?

If you want to know who the leader is in any group, pay attention to the one who goes first.
[Tweet “If you want to know who the leader is in any group, pay attention to the one who goes first.”]
“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” Probably. And the one who jumped first would be our leader.
Has your team failed to live up to your expectations? If so, you might ought to look in the mirror. They are merely doing what you do.
Need a group of hard workers? Then work hard. Looking for a relational bunch? Be accessible and show that you care. Hoping for others to show initiative? Model it.
There is a reason the leader is called leader. It’s because he takes the lead.
Leaders Go First!
Randy
Who do you know that models the “Leaders Go First” mindset?
Comment Below …

Is Your Castle Full of Friends?

There are many things I love about my life. Near the top of the list are the people in my inner circle. I cannot imagine how hard leadership would be without a few trusted partners.

Sadly, everywhere I go I meet leaders who feel lonely. They remind me of a line from the the 1941 film Citizen Kane describing Charles Foster Kane.

Is Your Castle Full of Friends?

There are many things I love about my life. Near the top of the list are the people in my inner circle. I cannot imagine how hard leadership would be without a few trusted partners.
Sadly, everywhere I go I meet leaders who feel lonely. They remind me of a line from the the 1941 film Citizen Kane describing Charles Foster Kane.
“In his castle surrounded by riches without allies, isolated.”

I’m guessing, like me, you never want to feel that way. What good is a castle without someone to share it with?
As a leader the most important thing you have is your people. Please don’t neglect their worth. Listen to their stories, value their opinions, and foster their dreams.
[Tweet “People don’t leave organizations, they leave leaders.”]
If you will remember what is really important, and refuse to isolate yourself, your will castle can be full friends, and you will love your life.
Randy
Why do you think so many leaders end up isolated?
Comment Below … 

A Leadership Lesson from Humpty Dumpty

A couple days ago I ran across a conversation between Humpty Dumpty and Alice. The dowdy egg was being questioned by the girl from Wonderland about the meaning of a word he had used out of context.

“When I use a word, it means exactly what I tell it to mean.”  Translated = Humpty was a bit delusional. Not surprising for a nursery rhyme character, but an indicator of one of the biggest temptations we all face … to live in denial and define things to our advantage.

No one is immune from this temptation. We tell ourselves we are fit, when truthfully many of us lack the self control to push away from the table. Who needs resolutions! We convince ourselves we are generous, but our finances say otherwise. We believe ourselves to be committed to family time, when in reality most of the time our families are together everyone’s face is plastered to a screen.

[Tweet “Leaders who lie long enough begin to believe the lies. Such people really only hurt themselves.”]

If you want to make progress over the coming weeks, begin by refusing to change the definitions. Excellence means there are no short cuts. Integrity (wholeness) encompasses every area, not just the places where it is convenient. And a great relationship requires one to show up and be fully present.

Perhaps the reason Humpty Dumpty had a great fall was because he lost the ability to balance truth and reality. Remember, once he fell no one could put him back together. As leaders, our influence is fragile. Let’s commit ourselves to being men and women who do what is right and refuse to alter the meanings.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What is one area where leaders lie to those they lead?

Comment Below …

Do Others Want to Follow You?

Leaders have a tendency to fall into one of two camps.
There are those who walk around looking for what others are doing wrong. Whenever they find it, they smack the guilty party on the hand. These leaders come across as harsh, critical, and negative toward their team. The result is sagging morale, and believe it or not, lower performance. This style of leadership is an indicator of insecurity on the part of the leader.
Thankfully, there is the second kind of leader. The one who looks to catch others doing right. This leader sees the potential in his team. He is positive, affirming, and constantly building others up. The result is high morale. With such a leader performance soars. He is confident, secure, and full of trust.
There are many things beyond your control as a leader. One thing that is not is what kind of leader you choose to be. The choice is YOURS.
[Tweet “If you want to maximize your impact, become a positive leader.”]
If you want to maximize your impact, I suggest you become the second kind of leader. Do so and watch what happens. You will soon look behind you and find an army of people wanting to be on your team.
Leadership Begins at Home,
Randy
Are you more apt to be a positive or a negative leader?
What would your team say? 
Comment Below?

Is the Force with You?

Last night a couple of my kids played the crazy card and caught the midnight premiere of the new Star Wars movie. So much for raising them right. I think I’m the only American who has never seen a Star Wars movie, but with or without me, it appears the force still lives.
Is the force with you?
One of my favorite words is the word “virtue.” It is not a word we use much anymore, but it is a great word.
Virtue traces its origin back to the Hebrew language. Its actual meaning is “force.” In other words, when a person has virtue, in the form of character and integrity, that person is a force.
[Tweet “When a leader has virtue, in the form of character and integrity, that leader is a force.”]
In his book, IntegrityDr. Henry Cloud alludes to the power of virtue when he writes, “When a hurricane comes through a town, you can see the results of its force. When the wind moves across the water, or through the trees, you can see the results of its force. Likewise, when you move through life, through your company or organization, through your career, and through your relationships, your character is going to be a ‘force.’”
Many leaders fail to recognize the “force” of their character. Company after company fails because the person in charge lacks virtue. The result is a team that is drowning in the wake of a leader’s lack of character.
As you approach today, I hope you will lead with integrity. Make virtue your focus and watch what happens. Your character will be a force!
Leadership Begins at Home,
Randy
What is one area of your leadership virtue that needs to improve during the upcoming month?
Comment Below …

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