Its 4:00 in the morning (not really, but it feels like it right now), this blog post was due last Wednesday (really! Sorry Chris.) I have so many excuses right now but none of them are important. I just asked my nine year old daughter who was to blame for all the problems in our country. I thought for sure she would say the president but she said something far more profound, she said we the people. If we the people are to blame then who should be held responsible? If we the people are to blame, shouldn’t we the people take responsibility and correct all the problems? The logic of nine years olds seems so simple. Of course my daughter doesn’t understand social complexities and big government. One thing she does understand is that people look to leaders to solve these problems.
We had an issue in our organization recently that could have cost us, and the responsibility was squarely upon my shoulders. I did not dodge it, I accepted it, but I was indeed nervous and a bit scared. We kept walking forward and while there is still some things to do, we appear to be out of the thick weeds. From here, we need to clean up some thorns, lick some wounds, and move forward. I asked my daughter that question as I was thinking about the circumstance at work. The fault for the situation could be placed on multiple people. There were many complex requirements to be met and a tremendous amount of detailed documentation to be created and archived. Ultimately, in this case, it comes down to me. I was to set up the program, put the people in place, hold them accountable, and deliver results, you know, the usual leadership duties.
Others are failing at this very same thing. Does that give me an excuse? No, but I did bring the failure statistics up just in case, this way it wouldn’t look so bad. While I was walking through this, I had to emotionally remove myself from the situation and look at the value proposition I bring to my organization. Do I bring more value than the cost of this failure? I had to look at all of the accomplishments that have happened in my tenure. I looked at all of the people that have been impacted by my leadership. I had to look at what I bring to the organization’s senior leadership team. I had to ask these hard questions to a few close peers. It is really too bad that I had not done this before. I have not asked the hard question, do I bring value and if so, how do I measure it?
Your value proposition as a leader is something that I now believe should practically roll off your tongue. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to do. Review your organization’s strategic plan, look at your part in it, and see if you have delivered. Ask a few people what they think. If you have failed, how have you learned from that and how did those lessons help propel you forward? You may have some other ideas on how to determine your value, however you do it, make sure that your value outweighs the cost of any individual failure. In order for your organization to keep going and experience success, your leadership value balance sheet will matter.