greg bustin successful leaders reflect

A Time To Reflect

December 1st, 2010  | 

Published in Strategic Planning

Throughout the year, I’ve had the privilege of advising CEOs and their key executives from 51 different companies in a variety of industries. I’ve spoken with dozens more leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada.
My work with these successful leaders is part of a process developed by Vistage, the world’s largest CEO membership organization (

As we close the year, I’ve encouraged these leaders to reflect on the past 12 months. What went right? If I had the opportunity to change a decision of the past year, what decision would I change? Why? What lessons did I learn that will serve me going forward?
December is also a terrific time to reflect on the year ahead. And while I encourage the leaders I work with to think about what they want to accomplish in their business, I also encourage them to extend their thinking to consider what they want to achieve in their personal lives.
All successful leaders should take time to reflect. Following are a dozen of a few carefully chosen questions I pose to these leaders as they count their blessings and set their sights on the year ahead:

  1. What were your three most significant learning experiences of the past 12 months?
  2. What do you feel were your most significant accomplishments of the past 12 months?
  3. What do you feel were your most significant disappointments of the past 12 months?
  4. What is one thing that – if I start doing in the next 12 months – will make me a more effective leader?
  5. What is one thing that – if I stop doing in the next 12 months – will make me a more effective leader?
  6. What am I most passionate about today?
  7. What am I bartering my life for?
  8. If I stopped today, would it be enough?
  9. What are my self-limiting beliefs that are preventing me from achieving what I want to achieve?
  10. Where am I the bottleneck in holding back my team’s effectiveness?
  11. What is the most strategic thing I can attend to in the coming year? How will I communicate, execute and measure this?
  12. What practices – specific, measurable, sustainable – will I engage in to enhance my development as a leader? How will I be accountable?

In the holiday spirit of sharing, my Christmas gift to you is a personal planning template I call the 7 Fs that you can download for free at

About the Author: Greg Bustin is an executive coach, consultant and speaker who has delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. Greg advises leaders at some of the world’s most admired companies, and his views about leadership have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Investor’s Business Daily, Leader to Leader, and other major publications. He’s written five leadership books. His newest book, How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices (Sourcebooks), examines decision-making in history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies. How Leaders Decide

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