We wanted to wrap up 2014 with some great advice from top Australian CEOs on how they measure their own leadership performance.
Measuring someone else’s leadership is hard, and monitoring your own performance is even harder. But if you’re the CEO, you don’t have a lot of choice but to track your own leadership performance. Here’s how six Australian CEOs do it:
Eytan Lenko from Outware Mobile
Eytan Lenko is a Director at Outware Mobile. Outware Mobile is a software development company that specialises in custom mobile apps. Their fast growth has earned them places in both BRW’s 2014 Fast 100 and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50.
Eytan is focused on tracking his performance as a leader through the quality of conversations: “Leading a young fast-growing company, I track my progress as a leader by the quality of the conversations I have with my team. Over time our interactions should be getting more strategic and less operational as the team’s capabilities develop and their ability to operate autonomously grows.”
Jane Lu from Showpo
Jane Lu is Chief Executive Pony at Showpo, an online women’s fashion retailer. Showpo’s explosive growth has come from their exceptional use of social media to target and market on-trend fashion items.
Jane uses 360 degree feedback and tracks company culture to measure her performance. As she puts it: “I get “upward feedback” on my leadership based on staff retention and company culture.”
Graeme Strange from Readify
Graeme Strange is the Managing Director of Readify, a technology company specialising in cloud based software, mobile applications, and Office 365. Readify’s early-adopter mentality and innovative workplace earned the company a place on BRW’s Top 50 Best Places to Work list.
Graeme says self-awareness is the most important part of tracking his leadership performance: “Measure yourself against some key KPI’s is a good start – Are my direct reports happy and working hard to achieve their goals? People that are happy and engaged work well to achieve what they need to for the organisation and themselves. Do the same problems keep repeating and never seem to be fixed? New problems are inevitable, however old problems repeating generally means that you are not fixing issues and this will slow the growth of the organisation and tend to indicate poor leadership. Do your people understand your vision and do they like it? Poor connection to a vision stifles performance and retention and generally means you have not communicated the vision well.
I’ve been saying for a while that a healthy dose of self-awareness is the most important starting point for measuring your own performance. Being able to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you still have or are acquiring the skills fast enough to perform well at your job. It’s a massive challenge in a fast growing business because the demands on you increase with the size and scale of the business. To ensure you keep up with those demands you need to invest in yourself in both areas of strength and of weakness.
I also believe that you can’t rely on others to provide honest feedback when you are in a senior position – don’t be afraid to invest in and participate in independent analysis (i.e. like LSI).”
David McKillop from Talent Web Recruitment
David McKillop is the Managing Director of Talent Web Recruitment, a recruitment company with emphasis on long-term relationships. The model is clearly working, with Talent Web Recruitment earning a place on BRW’s 2014 Fast Starters list.
David combines several metrics to measure his leadership, from overall company performance to staff turnover:
“Ultimately my performance is measured against the overall performance of the business and the feedback from our board of Directors. I also measure it against undesired turnover of staff and ability to attract new team members to the business. Whilst the other leaders in our business have other clearer performance measures my role is very broad… but whilst we are profitable and growing I am doing the right thing!”
Jon Windust from Cognology
Jon Windust is the CEO of Cognology. Over 250 Australian businesses use Cognology’s talent management software to power cutting edge talent strategy.
Jon uses engagement and teamwork as his measurement of leadership success. As Jon puts it, a well led team is one that works together towards a shared goal:
“Great people leadership results in a group of engaged people working towards a common purpose, making a difference.
The ultimate leadership performance measure is the bottom line. Even so, in a fast moving world, things can and do change quickly. This makes it also critical for leaders to seek well-rounded feedback. Direct reports, colleagues and those with considerable experience have insights that are gold.”
For more about Cognology check out the rest of this website! Or you can chat to Jon on Twitter here.
Phil Rickson from Ignia
Phil Rickson is the CEO of Ignia, an IT company with specialty in the Western Australian government and commercial market. Ignia’s specialised approach has earned them 2014’s Microsoft Enterprise Partner of the Year and a place in BRW’s 2014 list of Best Places to Work.
Phil feels that great leadership performance starts with recruitment:
“Aside from the skills needed to perform the job, aligning to our company values is the most important criteria we seek from potential employees. A “culture fit” can easily get confused with personality type as well as being subject to different hiring manager preferences.
To alleviate this, we have carefully devised a specific approach and questions for all stages of the process to ensure the candidate’s values clearly align with our values, which are; reputation, trust, passion, shared success and teamwork. These are the basis for our culture.
Our value cards and leadership value statements give examples of some of these behaviours. These are circulated to all new employees and we celebrate living the values through an awards program.”