Halfway Through 2017: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

I like to find leadership lessons in odd places. Today, as I’m still shaking off sand from the 4th of July, I’ll borrow the sage guidance of Ferris Bueller:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Ferris’ wisdom certainly rings true this week: we’re officially halfway through 2017! It’s time to stop and look around.

Necessary and Not Sufficient

Most organizations have quarterly reviews of some form in place. Even in my small business, I take stock of revenue, ops and project statuses at each quarter beginning. These reviews are critical and necessary. They’re often also insufficient.

For many, the focus of these reviews is on the numbers and data and projects, which don’t tell the whole story. This information can overlook the nuances about how things are really going and can guide us towards actions and priorities that are only partially informed.

To that end, below is a compilation of some favorite questions I’ve gleaned over the years from my clients as well as missteps I’ve made in overlooking key things. This certainly isn’t an end-all, be-all list; rather, it’s a way to check-in on aspects of leadership that can fall by the wayside in the constant whirlwind of getting things done.

Stop and Look Around

Grab a pen and a blank piece of paper. (Yes, this matters. Don’t type this on a device.)

Change your vantage point: get outside your office, sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed, maybe somewhere with a nice view. Look back over your calendar for the year or maybe those quarterly reports if that helps refresh your memory, then set them aside. See what arises naturally as you reflect on the year to date:

  1. What is my biggest pain point at work at this time?
  2. What am I most excited about at work at this time?
  3. What is underway today that I didn’t anticipate in January?
  4. How have my priorities changed since January? Who needs to be in the loop about those changes?
  5. When was the last time I asked for feedback? Offered someone else feedback?
  6. When was the last time I thanked, praised or celebrated someone?
  7. When was the last time I asked for help?
  8. What am I ignoring or pretending not to know?
  9. What relationships (internal or external) need some attention from me?
  10. What am I learning?

When you’re done writing, read over your responses. What jumps out at you? Any surprises or blind spots? Consider what shifts in your time, energy or attention you need to make for the second half of the year.

Note: these questions make for phenomenal team discussions as well. Simply change the “I / me / my” to “we / us / our” and off you go. These are the kinds of questions that surface areas of misunderstanding or misalignment.

I’d love to hear the questions you ask yourself at these calendar milestones to help yourself stay focused, inspired, on track.

Cheers to the second half of 2017!

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