Brenda’s Blog

“He needs to adopt a more aggressive leadership style,” shared the CEO who had called to discuss the possibility of me coaching one of his CXO direct reports. “Can you help us with that, Brenda?”

I responded, “Well, first, let me ask you: What does success look like for this leader – what are his specific business and people objectives?”

The CEO shared expectations for revenue and market share goals for the existing fiscal year, along with leadership goals in terms of succession.

“Got it,” I said. “Now, fast forward to the end of the fiscal year and assume this CXO has been successful – that this leader has achieved all of those goals. Do you really care ‘HOW’ the leader got there? As long as this person reaches the goals, does it matter to you if that leader’s approach is aggressive or not?”

As leaders, it can be easy to confuse the “what” (the goal or vision you want to achieve) with the “how” (the strategy/the approach chosen to get there). But in today’s exciting and diverse workplace, it’s important to recognize that there are many potential “how’s” to get to the same outcome.

What are some examples you’ve seen where people confuse the What and the How?



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