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Leadership Thought #319 – Strive to Operate at Your “Highest and Best” Use

March 15, 2012

Free Professional in Formal Attire and Black Eyeglasses Stock Photo

There is a term commonly used in real estate when describing the value of an individual property called its “highest and best use.”  The highest and best use is always that use that would produce the highest value for a property, regardless of its actual current use.   I want to encourage leaders to think the same way about their own role.  As the lead person in your organization, it is your responsibility to vigorously protect your time and activity.  Any number of distractions will pop daily, but they cannot be allowed to dilute your energy, talent and focus from what’s most important.

My contention is that every leader should be focused on one of the following six responsibilities at least 75% of their time:

1) Defining and implementing a strategic direction for the organization.

2) Actively growing/pushing top line results.

3) Ensuring financial sustainability through proactive and wise economic decision making.

4) Establishing a high-performance culture throughout the organization.

5) Growing/upgrading talent in critical roles in the company.

6) Connecting with key customers/stakeholders on a regular basis to solicit feedback and identify new opportunities.

Of course, things do happen, and troubleshooting is sometimes required, however this should be the exception not the rule.   High performing leaders know the value of their role and guard their time zealously.  As a result, they are rarely in a crisis mode because they are consistently doing what they should be doing to grow a successful organization.  Their positive business results compound over time and further separate them from their competition.

I encourage you to rethink how you are spending your time.  What does a typical day look like?   How much thought are you putting into operating at your “highest and best use?”  Are you being proactive about adding value to your leadership role or are you simply reacting to circumstances as they unfold?  What would need to change for you to have more of an impact as a leader?   An organization thrives, simply survives, or fails based on its ability to leverage its top assets.  There is no bigger personnel asset than the leader of the company.