Judge a CEO not by their answers, but by the nature of their questions (with apologies to Voltaire).
So how do you ensure you’re asking good questions?
Whether you are a CEO embarking on a new leadership journey or a seasoned pro, these 10 questions can help you frame your thinking about your organization and your role.
1. What progress and accomplishments will I share with my board 12 months from now? Work backwards from the narrative you’d like to communicate at your board meeting a year from now, then set your list of goals based on that result.
2. On my staff, who are my leaders, laggards, and lawn chairs (comfortably resting in the sun)? Jack Welch had this right. Invest in your top 20% of leaders, help the bottom folks find a new organization where they can be successful, and let those in the middle know where they stand and ask them if they want to step up.
3. What are the top forces impacting our members viewed through the lenses of technology, government, demographics, consolidation and globalization? You can only lead from the front. Your advocacy efforts, conference programming and strategic investments must address your members’ top concerns.
4. What is our COI (cost of inaction) if I don’t make the hard calls in my first 12 months? What gifts and problems did my predecessor leave, and how acute are the implications of not exploiting or fixing them? It won’t take too much digging to find out where the land mines and pots of gold are. Seek candor and demand no sugarcoating.
5. How effectively are we using our organization’s media assets to advance our core objectives? You are a media organization in so many ways, so why not make your events, print, digital and social media work harder?
6. Are our events performing in the top decile of association events? Why or why not? If you’re not growing your top and bottom line revenue by 10% a year, ask your team why. Are you comfortable with their answers?
7. Do we have credible and actionable member segmentation and clarity on motivations to belong and attend our events? If not, you’re not alone. It’s going to be impossible to lead a 21st-Century association without the benefit of empirical member data.
8. Do we know the 6Rs for our organizations live conferences and trade shows? Know your reach, retention, relevance, reputation, revenue and ROI. Take this quick assessment to get your results. We’ll let you know how you’re indexing against dozens of other organizations.
9. Are my volunteers, board, staff and members aligned, and do they share a common vision of our future? Do I agree with them? This quick organizational change readiness assessment will let you know where you and the rest of those that respond stand.
10. What is the one thing I could do this year that would make everything else easier or unnecessary? You have limited time, energy and resources. The answer to this one question will give you the lens you need to focus and prioritize.
Which one of these will have the biggest impact on your next 12 months? Send me an email; I’d like to hear what you think.
Are you ready for change? I spoke at ASAE’s new event, XDP, last week about the key factors that can help you predict and quantify your organization’s readiness. If you missed it, click here to download the graphic summary, zoom in and catch up.