questions smart leaders ask

7 Questions Smart Leaders Ask to Start the Year

January 6th, 2017  | 

Published in Accountability

In research for my book Accountability, I interviewed leaders of successful organizations and discovered seven distinct characteristics that form the foundation of their high-performing cultures.

I call these characteristics the Seven Pillars of Accountability.

As you begin the New Year, ask and answer these 7 sets of questions smart leaders ask to help improve your individual and organizational performance.

1. Character: Are our core values—the beliefs we say we stand for—clearly defined and consistently communicated? Do they reflect our real behavior or are they just cheap words? What would a person visiting our organization observe?

2. Unity: Does everyone in our organization know what’s expected of them to achieve our corporate objectives? Does everyone in our organization know what’s in it for them if we do? Does everyone understand what happens if we fall short?

3. Learning: We expect consistent financial growth in our organization. Are our people growing at a commensurate rate? What’s our plan for developing talent? When was the last time we asked, “What can we do to help you become more effective?”

4. Tracking: Are we measuring what matters? Do we consider tracking a stick to drive performance or do we believe (and, just as important, do our colleagues believe) we use tracking to empower our people to make better decisions, improve performance and celebrate milestones?

5. Urgency: Do we aspire to the highest levels of excellence in all that we undertake? In what areas are we settling? If we exerted just 5 percent more effort, what result would we achieve?

6. Reputation: Am I accepting less from some colleagues than others? What’s at the root of my behavior? Do I realize that double standards hurt everyone, starting with me and my reputation as a leader?

7. Evolving: If I were fired today, what changes would my replacement make?  What’s stopping me from making those changes now?

Easily share these questions with your organization by downloading the PDF version. Click the image below to download:

questions smart leaders ask

Accountability is a mindset.

It’s not punishment. It’s a support system for winners that creates an opportunity for your employees to choose if they are committed to doing their part in the company’s upward trajectory.

Accountability is a choice for leaders, too.

Are you modeling the performance you are expecting from others?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of organizations in a range of industries. Through his strategic planning facilitation, keynote speaking, workshops and leadership development work with peer advisory boards, Bustin helps CEOs and other key executives maximize their individual performance and, in the process, the performance of their organizations. Bustin is the author of four leadership books, including Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill).