Empower through appreciation: Leaders can get too caught up in "their work" and forget about the most empowering tool in their leadership toolbox ... it's called appreciation. People work hard for a cause they believe in. They work hard for leaders that are resolute, focused and accountable. But people really bring their best game for leaders that invest the time to show true appreciation for jobs well done. A simple "thank you" or "nice work" from the leader can lift the spirits of an individual and an entire team. Make 2014 the year of appreciation.
Let more information flow: I believe in company cultures that are transparent. I believe in open-book companies. No hidden agendas or deep dark secrets. Company financials represent the work of many. Driving a team to achieve a goal with no understanding or stake in the outcome is like dangling a carrot that no one can ever reach or taste. Information flow means telling the truth about where people and the company stand. Any restriction or blockage of information flow feeds speculation and drama. Going open book is a process. Let Strategies coach you through the process in 2014.
Own it first: If it didn't go right or the way you wanted it to ... own it first. It's a simple rule of No-Compromise Leadership: if it happened on your watch, you contributed to the outcome. When things go wrong, most often it's because expectations and responsibilities were not clarified. Leaders must be the first to take ownership for hasty decisions that were not thought through. Too many leaders use the, "Can't they just do their jobs," or, "What were they thinking?" excuses to cast blame, but successes and failures can all be traced back to the leader. No-Compromise Leaders own it first.
Cash for a good night's sleep: Building cash reserves is the responsibility of every leader. It's security for the company should it experience the unexpected. It's funding for unique opportunities. It's simply sleep good at night money. No matter how good you think you are at it, operating out of the company's checkbook is risky and dangerous. Checkbook balances tell little about the financial reality of a company. And if your company is burdened with excessive debt, you need to lock down spending and debt reduction by committing to and living your cash-flow plan. Cash reserves are planned. No compromise.
Go for predictability: Predictability is the dream of every leader. Predictability is the result of well-designed and well-executed systems. If your company experiences too many miss-fires or missed goals, or has difficulty hitting critical numbers and benchmarks, it's a sign that systems are missing, poorly designed and void of accountability. Pick one or two areas in your company that need improvement and assemble a small team to analyze and build better systems. Predictability takes hard work and discipline. Get to work on your systems.