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How Long Is Your List?

Oct 5, 2015
By Brian Black
Comments: 3

Categories: Leadership & Organizational Development

How Long Is Your List?

We live in an age of lists. We have our “to do” lists, and more recently it has become fashionable to accomplish items on a “bucket list.” But there is one list that is rarely discussed—the list of issues we find most difficult, or even impossible, to talk about. Yet that list is perhaps the one most reflective of the true state of our important relationships, whether among members of a leadership team in an organization or in a marriage or family.

As a leader in your organization, “How Long is Your List” of impossible discussions? What are those things that you or members of your team cannot discuss at all or, when you do, result in behaviors that shut down the conversation?

Leadership and family research has shown that the shorter the list of those things you cannot discuss, the more likely you are to have a healthy, cohesive team and the greater likelihood that the team will achieve its desired results.

For example, one study by The Anchor Group concluded that 85% of major corporate initiatives fail to come in on time or on budget because leaders fail to effectively break the “code of silence” of five commonly ignored business issues. The failure to engage in necessary conversations in the context of a family business not only hinders the effectiveness of the business, it often flows into family relationships outside the business.

So, how long is your list of things you cannot talk about?

Your next, most impactful leadership move may be to discern what is on that list and then begin a focused process with your team to reduce it to zero.

comments: 3
      • 1. Fact-Free Planning. A project is set up to fail when deadlines or resource limits are set with no
        consideration for reality.
        2. AWOL Sponsors. A sponsor doesn’t provide leadership, political clout, time, or energy to see a project
        through to completion.
        3. Skirting. People work around the priority-setting process.
        4. Project Chicken. Team leaders and members don’t admit when there are problems with a project but
        instead wait for someone else to speak up.
        5. Team Failures. Team members are unwilling or unable to support the project.

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