Big Questions, Simple Answer

Publishing update: We are currently working on the Kindle (eBook) conversion of the printed book, You Are Born to Lead. Stay tuned! The below might be helpful to you in the meantime.BTL Cover Image

Often when I was an HR lead, managers and executives would ask big questions like, “How do I get people to change more quickly?” Or, “Why aren’t people more accountable?” Creating a compelling vision of the future, measuring progress, and making sure people have specific goals are worthwhile actions.

But do they work? After decades in the workplace, co-author Kelly McCleary and I figured out that solutions aren’t the place to start. The first place to start for virtually any leadership problem is to understand yourself (your best stories, values, strengths, point of view) and others (culture, team, important stakeholders, boss) first. If you do that, following through on a few strategic actions (that we also lay out in the book) will make a big difference.

These are sample exercises taken from You Are Born to Lead to help you get started right now to solving any organizational issue. I frequently go back to them anytime I’m struggling with a decision or problem. Enjoy!

From the chapter, “Knowing Yourself”

Step 1: What Inspires You?

  1. Think back to a time you were most proud of yourself. Why did you feel proud?
  2. Think of a person who inspires you. List his or her attributes that make you feel that way.
  3. Think of the last time you were really excited about something. (Go as far back as necessary.) Why did you feel excited?

From the chapter, “Knowing Others”

Culture: How does work get done in your organization?

  1. What is the stated culture of your organization?
  2. What one or two words would you use to describe the culture?
  3. Is your experience in the culture different from what’s stated?
  4. Does your company have a well-communicated strategy?
  5. How does your company execute work (e.g., through strict processes, knowing certain people, informal or formal communication channels)?
  6. How does work get prioritized?
  7. How would you describe the dominant leadership style?
  8. What stories do people tell about work getting done?

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