I remember those worrisome grade school days when report cards were handed out. The report card would have two columns: one grade for my schoolwork and aptitude and the other for my conduct in class. I’ve never understood this grading system but most of the time I was happy because I had a tendency to get more A’s for my conduct than for my studies. Ok, let’s be honest here, I cannot remember a time when I ever received an A for my scholarly work. In fact, I used to tell my parents that, if we combined my A for conduct with my C in class studies, I actually managed a B average over all! You can take a guess at how long that argument held water with my folks. Thus, it took me a while as a young man to realize something that still rings true today; results are the key to getting invited to the game, conduct (leadership behavior) is the deciding factor to staying in the game. How could I have possibly known that this intense training of balancing results along with conduct from St. Aloysius grade school would lead me to my career in executive coaching?
So what does all of this have to do with how you grade yourself in your business role for 2014? Interestingly enough, in the past 25 years I have seen more executives lose their job due to poor conduct rather than results. The paradox to ascension within an organization begins with driving results. But, as you move higher, the ability to achieve results becomes a given and the measurement used to benchmark those results now becomes the most important factor, which is conduct. The really fun part about this transfer of importance is that, most of the time, no one will tell you this critical truth until they are walking you out the door. Do not misunderstand me, driving results is the most important measurement for a good leader, but unfortunately for all of us there are a lot of people who can drive results. The good news is that there are few people that have the strategic leadership behaviors (conduct) to make these results sustainable and if you are one of them, not only will you stay in the game but you will also define it.
Most CEOs and executives intellectually understand this concept but have difficulty assessing their conduct and its influence on the results they are aiming for. Furthermore, in today’s world of double and triple tasking, most executives are pushed to their limits to drive their desired results every day and have very little time or patience to review or even discuss their behaviors. Unfortunately, I can guarantee you that this inability or lack of desire to focus on your conduct is a dead end street 100% of the time. Yes, you can have a good job and you can be considered a success financially but in the long run, your inability to deal with your own issues and their effect on the people around you will ultimately lead to failure. The funny part about this failure is that rarely is it externally visible to the world. But on this point you must trust me – if you are at all a driven individual and you expect the best from yourself and others, you will judge yourself for a long time.
As your blogging coach I am asking you to take this opportunity to grade your conduct for 2014. Look at what you could have done differently to create more sustainability by aligning your leadership behaviors with your desired results. Be tough on yourself, no one else will see your grades, but then take your self-assessment and allow it to help you define what you are going to do differently in 2015. And remember this, you are tougher on yourself than anyone else ever will be and at times you may even be able to BS yourself about your conduct but, in the long run, you will always know if you were up to the task.
My goal for this blog has always been two-fold. First, I have the opportunity to share my insights and years of experience with you, the reader. And second, I myself get to hear your thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc. To make this blog a mutually beneficial experience, I would ask that you take the time to post your comments, your questions and your own war stories from your years in the business. Let’s use this blog to generate dialogue on the issues we’ve all faced in our businesses and work together to come to some great solutions.