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Sustainable High Performance
January 03, 2017

.... one direct report at a time.

Every single year during these New Year’s days (end of December and beginning of January) – when I read the news about ‘Marketing’ for instance – I always come across headlines about trends for the coming year.

For example:

“One marketing tool companies should focus on for 2017”

“Google’s new mobile-first index and the death of desktop SEO”

“The five marketing trends to keep your eyes on for 2017”


BUT when it comes to leadership – specifically about how to lead the team you are responsible for – there are NO trends, passing fads or flavors of the month (as in “what worked yesterday but it doesn’t work today”).

In the realm of leadership – for the most part – there are solid, timeless and universal leadership tools that worked yesterday, work today, and will work tomorrow.

If you want to build sustainable high performance within the team you lead – here is a small sample of reliable, enduring and comprehensive good-old techniques.

You are welcome to use them as a checklist / guideline / self-assessment tool in order to improve your leadership abilities – and the team you are responsible for.

Enjoy … for a much better 2017 !!!


First: Values

Have you identified your values?

If so – have you translated them into behavioral language – so that your direct reports clearly understand the limits of acceptable and unacceptable behavior?

Do you hire, lead and fire, according to such values?

Second: Behavior

Do you focus your attention on your direct reports’ behavior – or do you focus your attention on your direct reports’ attitude?

Do you evaluate your direct reports’ soft skills as objectively as you evaluate their hard skills?

Have you consciously built the culture of the team you lead by design – or is your culture the unconscious result of inertia?

Third: Communication

Does your team have a 100 per cent open communication environment?

Do ALL of your team members trust each other?

Are ALL of your direct reports really honest during performance conversations, team meetings, decision-making discussions, etc.?

Fourth: Performance

Do you assess your direct reports’ behaviors as much as their results?

Do you have one-on-one weekly meetings with every one of your direct reports where you review both: the progress from the prior week – and the priorities for the coming week?

Do ALL of your direct reports genuinely perceive that you help them learn something new, help them find development opportunities, and/or help them formulate a plan to achieve their personal and/or professional goals?

Fifth: Team

Do ALL of your direct reports perceive your team’s decision-making process to be open (everybody understands the logic behind the final decision), fair (everybody has the same opportunity to influence the final decision), and clean (the final decision is for the good of the team / organization, and not for the good of just a few of you)?

Is your (all of you individually – you and all of your direct reports) appraisal of one another equal to your (all of you individually – you and all of your direct reports) self-assessment on dimensions relevant to the team functioning?

Do ALL of your direct reports feel an authentic sense of belonging within the team you lead?

Sixth: Motivation

Do ALL of your direct reports consistently commit to the decisions made by the team you lead?

Do ALL of your direct reports perceive that you always treat them with respect – regardless of the circumstances – even when they make a BIG unintentional mistake?

Do ALL of your direct reports sincerely feel that they receive sufficient performance feedback from you?

Seventh: Execution

Do ALL of your direct reports truly believe that you know how to make out of team conflict a positive force for change?

Do your direct reports hold themselves mutually accountable – reminding one another when they are not living up to the performance standards agreed by the team?

Do your direct reports make the collective goals of the team you lead, more important than their individual / departmental goals?

Eighth: Purpose

Do ALL of your direct reports know and understand the strategy of your company or business unit?

Do ALL of your direct reports feel that they have a clear sense of how their work impacts the end user, the bottom line – and the Vision of your company or business unit?

Do ALL of your direct reports know WHY they are doing what they are doing?


Sustainable high performance is not elusive – or out of reach for most managers.

On the contrary …

Sustainable high performance is within reach of every single manager – IF you have the discipline to do the right thing every single time it is necessary

As I always say: Leadership is simple – not easy – but simple.

Questions? Feedback?
Reply to this Newsletter and tell me what you would like future issues to be about.

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And click here to see the entire "Leader Newsletter" Archive.

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See you next month!
Joseluis Romero - Publisher
January 3, 2017. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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