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Jensen Consulting Blog

It's All About You
October 22, 2010
Written By: Russell Jensen

In the past month I’ve had conversations with about 60 CEOs and senior executives from businesses ranging from mature multinationals and multi-generation family businesses to start ups to innovative non-profits and seemingly everything in between.  (Yes, it’s been a fun month!)  Here are some of the concerns expressed by a surprising number of them:


  • Our culture is stale and resists change. 
  • Our roster is filled with “C” players.
  • Innovation has been a company priority for three years, but we still can’t innovate our way out of a paper bag right now.
  • Two tough years have brought right sizing and reorganization.  There is growing discontent in our workforce.  Some of our best next gen players are leaving, or worse, shutting down.
  • Direction is clear, goals are good, operating plan is good.  Execution is not good.  Never has been.
  • We get no leadership from mid-management.  None.  Why don’t they get it?
  • We have no depth at all below our senior team.


So, dear reader, my question to you is this; where do you start?  Where do you look first to address these issues?


Leaders, the truth is that YOU are the single greatest lever for change in your organization.  Everything starts with you.  You set the tempo, you determine or enable the culture, and you send the messages, both intended and unintended, that people remember.  It is very possible that the single most effective leadership development investment your business could make right now is in … you.


Meaningful leadership development is first and foremost about you, not just about your senior team or your high potentials.  Every leader needs to invest a portion of her/his time into understanding who they are as a leader and how they can become more effective.  Here is a quick self-check to help you think about your personal leadership development.  Rate these on a five point scale from “Not So Much” to “Feeling Pretty Good.”


  1. I have a high level of awareness of my personal leadership style, strengths and weaknesses
  2. I set clear and appropriately demanding expectations for people
  3. I consistently tell the truth with compassion, even when it is uncomfortable or hard
  4. I utilize multiple strategies to gain outside perspective on my decisions and my business
  5. I am able to maintain a healthy balance between driving for results and investing in relationships
  6. I invite feedback and constructive criticism
  7. I confront reality and make the hard decisions


If you have more than one or two of these that you aren’t feeling pretty good about, consider working with someone to map out a personal development plan.  Because the truth is, you’re the lever for change.


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This has been one of the most interesting blogs to date. The concerns expressed by the CEO's could easily describe my company a few months ago. However, they invested in management and office personnel taking personality tests, like the Myers-Brigs type indicator and it has made a huge difference in the company. Not only did they have management and office personnel take the tests, they then encouraged us to use the data we learned about ourselves in dealing with co-workers. We all spent two days in seminars learning how to effectively communicate with each other. It was fun, interesting and enlightening. Our communication as a company has never been better. We all work together so much better. We all have much more respect for each other which makes for a much more productive workplace.
Posted By: Phyllis Laurion - 10/22/2010 9:01 PM

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