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Balanced Leadership Development

Whether I’m working with someone on developing their team or business; improving their golf; or developing as a band, one common theme I keep coming back to, is that of focusing on the process rather than getting too myopic about the outcome.

Over time I’ve found it more beneficial to get clients to look at the elements they can control, rather than being purely focused on the end results they are looking to achieve.  After all, some of these are not in their direct control e.g. you can’t force a customer to buy your products; you can’t control exactly how the ball is going to react when it hits the green etc.

I am not dismissing the importance of having a view of where you are heading and the kind of outcomes you are looking to achieve.  However I have found that having established the intended direction, it is then much more productive to focus on the process elements you can actually control.  If you do these often and well enough, the desired outcomes should be forthcoming.  As an example, constantly focusing on the fact that your sales are down by 20% isn’t going to improve things.  Looking at the steps you can take to address the shortfall is much more helpful.

This is the approach recommended by Kaplan and Norton in the work they did on the Balanced Scorecard.  They encouraged businesses to look at four areas in setting business plans and measures (Learning and Growth; Processes/Innovation; Customers; Financial Results).

Working with a client the other day it struck me that as well as being a useful model for thinking about what elements to focus on to build success at a business level, it could equally apply at an individual leadership level.

Taking the Balanced Scorecard approach, here are a few elements to consider:

Learning and Growth:

  • What are my strengths and how can I leverage these more?
  • What are my critical development areas and how can I address these?
  • What Leadership Brand do I want to develop?  What steps can I take to do so?
  • What can I do to develop my resilience?


  • What can I do to increase my efficiency in e.g. meetings / managing my time?
  • What new techniques can I apply to my decision-making?
  • How can I delegate and motivate my people more effectively?


  • Who are my ‘customers’ (staff; colleagues; clients) and what are they looking for from me?
  • What can I do to improve the quality of my relationships with my staff, colleagues and external customers?

My experience is that we will normally tend to focus on one or two areas of the scorecard to the exclusion (consciously or unconsciously) of others.  Taking a more balanced approach may open some new insights and ideas.

So the next time you are putting together your development plan why not give some thought to the elements such as those above rather than just the results you are looking to achieve?  Spend time on working these areas and you will increase the likelihood of delivering a more successful outcome.


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