Leaders focus on getting things done. Michael Lennington, author, coach and president of The 12 Week Year, shares the importance of acting on good ideas with humility and accountability. Michael explains how to strengthen leadership skills through executing ideas precisely and frequently.
Become an Execution Expert
Michael is an execution aficionado. He helps business leaders put their ideas into action. At the start of his career, Michael noticed that the fourth quarter of the year put executives and their teams into high-gear. They only had a matter of months to reach their goals, and for many the end of the year seemed to have crept up too soon.
Michael saw an opportunity: Help leaders make better use of their time throughout the year so they can reach their goals quicker and more consistently. Today, he teaches leaders and their teams to think of their success/failure cycle in 12-week increments.
The result: focus and results.
Adopt an Investment Mentality
Michael points to his father as the first person he recognized as a leader. His father owned a Christmas tree farm in addition to his full-time job. Michael noticed that his father always paid his workers handsomely and even invited them to eat with their family regularly.
[9:57] “I learned that [if] you treat your people well, … treat them like equals and you work with them like professionals, they respond a lot better than if you bring people in and treat them like they’re there to get a dollar and then get out.”
Strong leaders are generous, humble, and share their revenue. Strong leaders treat people with a mindset of investment rather than one of expense. Michael says you will see the difference in the quality of your team’s output.
According to Michael, three key traits leaders possess are:
- They think strategically
- They communicate an inspiring vision
- They execute
[14:10] “I believe that the best leaders are really good at executing and getting things done, and they don’t spend time doing things that aren’t really their role… but they help the company execute.”
Cultivate a Culture of Accountability
Michael adamantly advocates for fostering accountability in the workplace. He notes that accountability often comes with a negative connotation, as if it’s merely a system for punishing those who lag in their duties.
Rather, leaders should focus less on using accountability as a means to discipline and more on creating an environment in which accountable people thrive and unaccountable people feel uncomfortable.
Michael’s advice for all leaders is to execute regularly and create a culture out of it.
[22:00] “The best ideas are worthless unless you take action on them.”