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  • Starting Your Startup: You Better Know This

    Improve your ability to see the big picture. Learn to step back from the day-to-day tactical details of my business and focus on the “why”, not just the “what” and “how.”

    I help a lot of leaders create individual development plans using some variation of this process. Although every leader I work with is unique, it

    Courtesy: Surge-Andrey-Kiselev/PhotoXpress Free Images

    seems like the development goals end up being somewhat common from year to year.

    1. Strategic thinking.
    Improve my ability to see the big picture and take a longer range, broader business perspective. Learn to step back from the day-to-day tactical details of my business and focus on the “why”, not just the “what” and “how”.

    2. Listening.
    Learn to pay attention and demonstrate to others that that I value what they have to say. Use active listening, open-ended questions, body language, and eliminate distractions that get in the way of my ability to listen.

    3. Coaching.
    Shift my leadership style away from always directing and telling and learn to guide and develop my direct reports. Work with each of my direct reports to create their own individual development plans.

    4. Financial acumen.
    Learn how to understand, interpret, and use “the numbers” to improve my business.

    5. Cross-functional knowledge and perspective.
    Learn about other aspects of the business other than my own functional silo.

    6. Industry, competitive, and customer knowledge.
    Improve my understanding of our industry and our competitors. Get closer to our customers and find out what they need and value.

    7. Leadership presence.
    Improve my ability to “command a room” and communicate in an authentic way that inspires others.

    8. Change leadership.
    Be more of a change catalyst, a champion of change. Learn to implement and sustain change in my organization.

    9. Remote management.
    Improve my ability to manage my remote direct reports and organization. Make better use of technology to plan, communicate, and collaborate virtually.

    10. Collaboration.
    Improve relationships with my peers. Be a better partner, understand their goals and needs, and learn to work together to help achieve each others goals.

    11. Talent management.
    Improve my ability to assess, hire, promote, and develop. Fill all open positions with nothing but “A” players and replace chronic underperformers. Develop a “virtual bench” for all key positions and a succession plan for my own position.

    12. Time management.
    Get a handle on where I’m wasting time and shift my focus to more value-added activities. Learn ways to work more efficiently and prioritize.

    How about you? What’s on your 2010 leadership development plan?

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    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Startup/Entrepreneur


    About the Author: Management and Business for Emerging Leaders

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