The quality of your questions determines the quality of your thinking.
And when I started thinking about how I could grow my business, these were some of the questions I asked myself:
How can I begin to replace myself?
How can I get out of the truck?
The questions weren’t easy to answer, but they transformed my leadership on a whole new level. Here are seven tough questions for your new year planning:
1. Am I becoming the best version of myself?
Most people make up excuses for why they aren’t succeeding or taking action. Or they hang out with people who drag them down rather than lift them up (this applies to business partners and also friends).
Look at yourself in the mirror and be honest:
Are you moving closer to your dreams every single day? Are you working harder and smarter than your competitors? Or are you living a life that will lead to regrets?
2. What’s my biggest weakness?
We all have weaknesses, and it’s OK. But what are you doing to get over or work around what you’re not great at? If you’re not sure, seek out feedback and even criticism–especially from a mentor, coach, or consultant–it’s not fun, but it’s how you avoid mistakes and grow faster.
By delegating what you’re weak at, you’ll better focus on projects and tasks that only you can do–whatever utilizes your biggest strengths. If you’re a founder like me, developing your company vision and hiring great people would be the best use of your time.
3. Am I owning my calendar, or is my calendar owning me?
Most leaders end up fighting fires and pleasing other people, rather than working on their most important priorities. And that’s how they lose control over their day, and eventually their future in the business.
Look, I’m not the best at time management, but I’m lucky to have a team of integrators and assistants to keep me on track. And, to make sure that I stay absolutely focused, I also ask myself questions like:
What’s my number-one thing today/this week?
Am I working on the number-one thing?
What will make this move forward?
4. Would I work for a boss who’s exactly like me?
People don’t leave companies–they leave bad bosses or leaders. If you wouldn’t work for a boss like yourself, how can you persuade your employees to be loyal to you?
When I asked myself this question years back, I realized that I had so much more to improve, and that’s why I made a list of 30 things I need to change about my leadership.
5. Am I taking responsibility as a leader?
There are a lot of articles on underperforming or toxic employees. But the problem is not the employee it’s the leader. If you think about it, who hired the employee on board? Who delegated responsibilities to the employee? Who trained the employee or didn’t?
I used to blame my employees for everything that was going wrong in my business. But I realized that I, Tommy Mello, was the problem. And when I started taking responsibility as a leader, the business started improving.
Here are other questions I ask to be a stronger leader:
How can I effectively lead my team?
How can I be a coach, rather than a manager?
How can I surround myself with other great leaders?
How can I develop great leaders in my company?
6. Do I have the right people on the bus?
Jim Collins wrote:
“The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it.”
To have a clear idea of who you need to hire, create an org chart to identify the gaps. The org chart will also help you hire out your weaknesses. Ultimately you want to replace yourself, so that the business isn’t too dependent on you, which can slow down its growth.
7. Am I hiring A/B/C players?
We all know the value of A players but why do most people end up hiring B or C players? A-players are hard to find, of course, but the mistake I see people making is that they don’t hire people who already have great jobs. These are the people who are much more likely to be A-players since their employer is getting them to stay.
To seek out A-players before your competitors, always be recruiting. That helps you avoid hiring B or C-players just because you have an urgent need.
This post is written by Tommy Mello.