Welcome to the October 7th, 2013 edition of the Leadership Development Carnival! We are excited to be hosting this month!

For this month’s Carnival, we asked an all-star line-up of leadership experts the following question:

As we move towards the end of the year, what can a leader and/or manager do to best prepare their team and/or organization for greater success in the new year?

Here are their responses:

  1. Dan McCarthy from Great Leadership says, “First, get feedback from your team on how you can be a more effective leader for them. Use a formal 360 assessment, a stakeholder assessment, or just ask them individually. Then, once you’ve role modeled asking for feedback and your own personal commitment to development and improvement as a leader, have a career and development discussion with each of your employees. Talk about where you see the organization in 2014 and beyond, their career goals, development goals, and how you can help them grow to achieve organizational and career goals.”
  2. Tim Milburn from TimMilburn.com (Developing Lifelong Leaders) says, “Finish this year strong. Don’t wait for a date on the calendar to begin striving for excellence. Leaders can inspire their team to do the right things NOW so when 2014 rolls around, they already have momentum. This year’s chapter effects the next year’s chapter in your story. Don’t let the new year or the transition be your sole motivation. Your team can be more productive in 2014 if they focus their efforts and strive for continual improvement in the waning days of 2013.”
  3. S. Chris Edmonds from Driving Results Through Culture says, “Great leaders engage their teams and members regularly in both strategic conversations and tactical conversations. Organizational integrity – doing what you say you will do – depends upon strategic and tactical clarity by all organization members. As year end approaches, great leaders formally engage in celebration of aligned action by the team, reflection on tactical misses, strategic refinement for the coming year, and mapping out of tactical plans (goals, projects, and the like) which support the strategic plan. Tactical actions are then embedded in contribution planning for every team member for the upcoming year.”
  4. Joel Garfinkle from Career Advancement Blog offers this post with this response, How to Design an Employee Retention Program that Works – A leader can best prepare his/her team/organization for greater success in the new year by successfully on-boarding. It’s the key to employee retention.”
  5. “One of the best ways to prepare your team for success in the new year is to finish the current year strong!” In his post, Three Priorities for Leaders Now That Summer is Over, Randy Conley from Leading with Trust shares insights on how to generate positive momentum to finish the year strong and position your team for greater success in the future.
  6. Dana Theus from InPower Coaching says, “The most important thing leaders can do when they start thinking about goals is to take a step back and design intentions that give them guidance beyond the goals. Intentions are like goal-level visions. Why is this important? Because things change and we need information beyond the goals themselves to guide us through the unpredictability of reality. Here is a short video series I did last year anticipating this issue when 2013 was still in our headlights. Video 1, Video 2, Video 3.”
  7. Mary Jo Asmus from Mary Jo Asmus says, “As leaders consider their strategies for 2014, in addition to the usual goals they need to accomplish, they also need to consider the relationships they have with those who support them. Why not be as strategic about your relationships as you are about everything else you do? This post illustrates some things to consider as you make your 2014 plans for great relationships at work: The care and feeding of your work relationships.”
  8. Linda Fisher Thornton from Leading in Context says, “I would recommend openly discussing how to improve the organization’s ethics. Taking steps to ensure an ethical culture is a fantastic investment in employee engagement, customer retention and overall organizational performance.”
  9. John Hunter from Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog says, “Focus on building the capability of the organization. The simplistic view is to shift focus from fire fighting and daily urgency to working on building the system (including developing people to gain skills and abilities). I discuss this idea in Build Systems That Allow Quick Action – Don’t Just Try and Run Faster and Building Adoption of Management Improvement Ideas in Your Organization.”
  10. Chery Gegelman from Simply Understanding asks, Have you shared your vision with your team?
  11. Rich Wellins, Ph.D., from Development Dimensions International and the Talent Management intelligence Blog says, “One of the most important things a leader can do to prepare her/his team for greater success in the New Year is to have meaningful conversations. To that end, I would sit down with each team member and ask them three simple questions:  1.) What do you enjoy most about your current job?  2.) What is your biggest gripe and what can we do about it?  3.) Where do you want to be a year from now (New job or stretch assignment? Something else?) and how can we get you ready?  Then listen. For more on what leaders must do every day to be effective, read DDI’s new research, Driving Workplace Performance Through High-Quality Conversations.”
  12. Frank Sonnenberg from FrankSonnenbergOnline says, “All year long, companies are obsessed with quarterly numbers. As we approach year-end, it’s time to focus on areas that’ll determine long-term success. They include building an organization with passion that focuses on major priorities, reinvents itself every day, adapts well to change, responds with speed, maintains a flexible structure, devotes itself to service excellence, and puts integrity back where it belongs, right beside the bottom line. Here is a post that explains more about why it is so important: Welcome to the New Age of Intangibles.”
  13. Mary Faulkner from Surviving Leadership says, “In Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, he states that you cannot gain commitment from a team without CLARITY and BUY-IN.  Leaders struggle so much with the clarity piece – they confuse transparency (randomly sharing anything on their mind) with clarity. Clarity requires vision, strategic planning, personal understanding of where the leader wants to go, and providing context to the team as to what the expectations are, why, and most importantly, how the team’s individual roles fit into the big picture. Without that clarity, all the fancy leadership-type stuff managers do won’t matter.”
  14. Tom Walter from Thomas J Walter says, “A leader has only one brain and is limited by their experience within the organization. I am a firm believer in multiple perspectives. Planning for the next year must include everyone in and around the organization, and that includes clients, vendors and advisors. Often times, our front line staff knows more about our organization than our team leaders do, which makes those front line people invaluable to this process. Everyone should be involved in planning because everyone has a unique and important viewpoint to add to the preparation and evaluation process. You can read more in my blog post – As we enter Q4, how are we preparing for next year?
  15. Julie Winkle Giulioni from juliewinklegiulioni.com says, “It’s easy to get into a ‘heads-down’ mode as the year draws to an end, focusing on closing pending deals and finishing up projects. But this time of year, effective leaders keep an eye on the big picture. And a huge part of that big picture is effectively onboarding new employees and team members in a way that ensures engagement and results.”
  16. Wally Bock from Three Star Leadership says, “If you want to do better next year, you have to do some things differently. Use the time between now and the New Year to figure out what and how. For more tips see my blog post –
    Boss’s Tip of the Day: Your New Year Do’s.”
  17. Mike Henry Sr. from Lead Change Group says, “What can a leader/manager do to prepare their team for greater success – Encourage and remind. Encourage people about the progress they’ve made toward goals and objectives and remind them of the vision they had at the beginning of the year or period. Remembering the vision helps everyone persevere toward the objectives. I also recently posted on The Value of Vision.”
  18. Jon Mertz from Thin Difference says, “A key question to ask as the year closes is: What has been left undone? Each year, we may start with an objective of doing something different or learning something new yet, as the year passes, we get worn down and miss the growth opportunities. We need to embrace our vulnerability and engage our bravery now before the year ends.”
  19. Karin Hurt from Let’s Grow Leaders says, “As you head into the 4Q be sure your team knows what you appreciate most about their leadership. Recognizing at a deeper level inspires confidence and bigger results. Read more in this recent post – What I appreciate most about your leadership.”
  20. Neal Burgis, Ph.D. from Practical Solutions says, “As we approach the end of another year, there is a feeling of anticipation for what the upcoming year will bring. As a great leader, you want to do your best to prepare your organization for greater success in the New Year. For several tips see my blog post – Leadership Preparedness for the New Year.”

Asking your team powerful and compelling questions about what has been achieved and what is ahead – and listening with openness and curiosity to the answers they share, will give you the opportunity to reflect on all the accomplishments made and on all the promise that lies ahead. Questions such as, “What are you most proud of?”, “What was your greatest disappointment?”, and “In what ways did our team stretch and grow?” offer reflection. “What’s the title of our next chapter?”, “What trends are we seeing in our work?”, “How do we want our team to evolve?”, and “What is your greatest hope for the coming year?” are questions that set a vision for the year ahead. Ask, listen, be curious, celebrate your successes, and ignite enthusiasm for 2014.

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