What is your CEO leadership score?

Over the last year the world around you has changed. Your firm will have changed too. Whether you realise or not it will have changed in every aspect, sometimes only a little, sometimes a great deal.  Some of this change will be in intentional, some will reactive and some will be almost by osmosis as employees adjust their activity in response to external information.

The difference between a great firm and one that is successful is the amount of intention that underpins the action. Leaders create that intention and by doing so ensure that the results are continuously achieved.

Leading with intention: The 2 key elements

(1) Clarity: 

Clarity has three essential components. Lack of deep knowledge of any of these weakens the firm.

  1. What is the firm’s situation – Now
  2. What will the firm”look like” (when its successful)? – Where
  3. What needs to be done to close the gap (the strategies and priorities)? – How

The greater the granularity of Now and the Where, the better.

These three questions create the exemplar leader’s strategic plan, and the regularly updated 90 day plans which keep the firm, and its internal and external resources on track. For the exemplar leader, these are communicated so regularly that all employees and important supporters are able to parrot them back, if asked.

(2) Process:

Having clarity is not enough though, and an exemplar leader understands that a plan does not constitute success and so embeds a strategy implementation process throughout the firm. When such a formal process is missing, the people will be bombarded with distractions, projects will be derailed by barriers, cash will be wasted, morale will drop and results may not occur.

The Intentional firm: A profile

The following are activities which Firms Acting With Intention will complete over the term of the strategic plan.

Competitive advantage:

  • Identified the critical differences between its offering and that of the competition *
  • Took action to keep the firm’s competitive advantage relevant *
  • Aligned the firm’s people, processes and activities to strengthening that advantage


  • Identified emerging customer problems *
  • Identified declining customer needs *
  • Compared the customer’s perception of value received to the value provided*
  • Added, removed and investigated new products and services
  • Entered, exited and investigated new markets
  • Forecast competitor action and reaction


  • Identified non value adding activities and taken action to remove those activities
  • Eliminated barriers to improved service delivery
  • Used financial and non financial measures to keep up momentum, and forecast opportunities and threats
  • Took action to automate standard processes and activities


  • Structured roles and teams around outcomes (not activities) and each individual’s strengths and interests
  • Celebrated both successes, and the insights gained from failure *
  • Took action to build trust within the firm, and with external parties (including suppliers)
  • Identified future employees and suppliers to enable rapid ramp up of work
  • Programmed skills training considering future needs


  • Increased spending on strategic priorities
  • Reduced spending on non value adding activities
  • Increased R&D activities
  • Strengthened relationships with debt and equity providers

*An exemplar leader will revisit this at least every 6 months

My challenge to you: Evaluate your firm against this list, and so evaluate your leadership success over the last 12 months.

(A) Assign the following scores to each activity.

  1. Was done with planned intent, and expected results were achieved **
  2. Was done with planned intent, although results were not as good as expected**
  3. Was a reaction to urgency
  4. Was not considered

(B) List the amount of increased profit or non financial benefit that would have occurred if the action had been completed ( or the gap between results and goals when the action had been completed)

** This applies to activities which are part of the 1 – 3 year strategic plan regardless of when they are scheduled, providing they were addressed in the relevant year.

Leadership scores

21 – 34:  Exemplary leadership leading the firm to increased market share, higher profits and a magnet to the best employees and most enjoyable clients

35 – 47:  Strategic leadership where goals and priorities are communicated  but  implementation process needs improvement

48 – 73:  Day-to-day leadership resulting in the firm wasting cash and other resources

74 – 84: The firm is in decline

Let me know how you go.

Jennifer is a strategy implementation coach who helps leaders turn their strategies into results.

She assists executives and business owners to achieve goals such as improved profit, productivity, leadership skills, business value. Her services are Business and Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation, Strategic Planning, and advising on Board Governance.

 To find out how she can help you, call +61 439 520 182 or email.