Welcome to the 5-part series of Leadership Mistakes to Avoid. Over the course of this series, I address a different mistake each week. I invite you to join in the weekly discussion and share your experiences and lessons learned.

Here is the final mistake that many leaders struggle with and how to avoid or overcome it.

#5: All Do and no BE.

I have been the CEO or a senior leader of six companies over a 40-year period. I have also served on the boards of several for profit and not for profit companies, both privately and publicly held.  There is one thing I have consistently seen lacking from senior leadership: a focus on the people side of the business.  

Text books, CFO’s, and boards are robust when it comes to financial metrics. Excellent financial summaries are a dime a dozen and most organizations create an amazing array of analysis, causation, and plans for improvement.   

However, when it comes to people, most organizations are “all do and no be.”   “Do” goals are financial in nature:  grow sales, increase margins, cut costs, maximize returns and create more value than your competitors.  You will find no shortage of metrics, analysis, or action plans here.       

“Be” goals represent the type of leaders we need to be to create a culture of excellence: low turnover, high engagement, and world class inclusion and equality.   For the first 20 years of my career the importance of people metrics was overlooked or underutilized: often stuck in the HR department with no senior leadership support.  When we established a love works culture at Herschend Enterprises and again at SeaWorld, we focused on extremely robust measures regarding people focused  results.   Here are a few questions to spur your thinking:

  1. Do you measure employee satisfaction?  If so, do you track:
    1. Their level of engagement in their work?  
    2. Their feeling of inclusion? 
    3. Their belief in equal opportunity for all races, genders, sexual orientations, political affiliations, or even spiritual beliefs?   
  2. Do you re-survey troubled departments more frequently than annually?
  3. Do these people measures track to the individual manager level?   Bad cultures are linked to bad leaders and data is the only way to identify the problem.
  4. Do you spend as much time reviewing the results of your people metrics as you spend on financial results?
  5. Do you require action plans to address poor people scores?
  6. Are people promoted and rewarded according to their results on “be” goals as well as their “do” goals?  Only those hitting both “do” and “be” goals should be promoted to the top.  

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may need to beef up on people leadership IQ and EQ.   I am happy to help, just reach out via LinkedIn or Facebook.   

I hope you found this series on “five leadership mistakes you should avoid” helpful in your leadership growth journey. Keep checking back for more insights on leading with love.

Love Works!

Joel

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