What Do You Pay Attention To?

I’ve asked some friends to bring their insights to the Leadership Freak community. Please give a warm welcome to today’s guest writer, S. Chris Edmonds.


If you’re like most leaders, you pay attention to what’s right in front of you.

One key question I ask senior leaders is “what do you pay attention to?” Most say they focus on performance indicators.

Monitoring performance metrics is good. And, sometimes systems present metrics that are easy to monitor but aren’t the right things to monitor.

Here’s an example. A printing plant installed a new press that could deliver 50,000 impressions an hour. A software “dashboard” kept careful track of that metric. However, if the color scheme were off by just 2%, the printed matter would not meet customer standards. The press’ dashboard didn’t monitor color requirements perfectly; only a human could do that. It was vital to monitor both impressions per hour and adherence to the customer’s color palette.

I suggest that leaders pay attention to:

  1. Strategic Clarity – How well is your organization’s strategy understood across the company? Communicate and reinforce your declared strategy regularly.
  2. Goal Alignment – Once strategic clarity is reached, leaders need to regularly assess the degree to which projects, goals, tasks are aligned to that declared strategy.
  3. Expectations Clarity – Next, leaders must ensure that everyone in the organization understands and commits to goals for both performance and values (defined in behavioral terms).
  4. Consistent Accountability – Finally, leaders must hold themselves and staff accountable for meeting performance expectations and values expectations. Accountability means the prompt application of POSITIVE consequences (when folks do the right things the right way) and NEGATIVE consequences (when they don’t).

Am I missing any other key elements leaders should focus upon? Let me know in the comments section below.


S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author, and senior consultant with the Ken Blanchard Companies. He blogs at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/scedmonds.