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Alexandra Reese's Growth Guide

Timely leadership insights to accelerate your growth & impact


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We’ve got just four weeks left in the year. How are you feeling about turning the page to 2023? Today, I share three things you can do now to guarantee greater success next year.


Between work and family commitments, time is a scarce commodity during the holiday season. So, I’ve carefully chosen one recommendation to help you connect with and support three of the four domains of leadership: yourself, your team, and your organization. 

Each of these recommendations will not only boost performance next year, but they’ll strengthen relationships and engagement today. So, they're really win-wins!

Self: Create your self-leadership development plan

According to a recent survey by the Center for Creative Leadership, 51% of leaders say self-leadership is their most neglected domain.


And it makes perfect sense. Most leaders have been running at full steam since the start of covid to ensure the health of their organizations and those they love. Not surprisingly personal growth and development fell by the wayside.


Looking ahead, all signs point to continued tumult and change. But that doesn’t mean you should continue to postpone your own growth and development. In fact, it means you should make your growth and development your number one priority.


When times are tough, people look to their leaders to set the tone and model the way. When your energy is low, you bring down the energy of the room. When you respond tersely in a meeting, you harm the psychological safety of the entire group. As a leader, you have an outsized impact on every single person in your sphere of influence.


So, you need to do everything you can to ensure you’re showing-up as your best self. In other words, you must master self-leadership. Self-leadership has three elements:

Your self-leadership development plan should chart an actionable path to improve each of these components. Questions to consider for each phase include:

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses in this area?
  • If I were to improve this area, how might that positively impact me, my relationships, and my ability to achieve my goals?
  • What could I do to improve this area?
  • Above all else, what is one thing I will commit to doing?
  • What resources or support do I need to be successful?

I’ll do a deep dive on the what and how of self-leadership development planning later this month, so keep an eye on your inbox if this topic is of interest. And please reply to this newsletter with questions!


Team: Reset team agreements 

Recently, I hosted a leadership retreat during which I asked eight successful executives to answer the question, “What does it mean to have healthy relationships on your leadership team?”


Alone, each item on the list made perfect sense. Taken as a collective, there was an issue: some of their ideas were contradictory. For example, one person said healthy relationships mean delegating ownership and trusting things will get done while another said transparency and information flow. Neither perspective is wrong, but they are different.  


Differences in perspectives can sow the seeds of conflict in relationships. The first person might get frustrated when the second continually asks for status updates. And the second may feel intentionally excluded when their requests go unanswered. Unaddressed, those seeds will sprout into severe disfunction.


The new year is a time of fresh starts. So, use it to reset your team dynamics. Even if your team is doing well, it’s smart to schedule time together to set aside the work of the day and focus on how you’re doing individually and as a team. This is how you go from great to exceptional. Use this time to:  

  • Check-in on a personal level to strengthen trust and deepen relationships
  • Reflect on how you worked together in 2022
  • Identify strengths and opportunities for 2023
  • Confirm your working agreements
There are four types of working agreements high-performing teams need. Check out my October Growth Guide for an overview of these working agreements, which I provide in my High-Performing Team Framework.

Your team can be among your biggest assets or liabilities. And it all hinges on the strength of your relationships and working agreements. You can dramatically improve your odds of success—and your enjoyment at work—by strengthening your team.


Organization: Cascade the strategy

Last year, I had the opportunity to ask the strategy leader of a Fortune 500 company, “What is the hardest part of strategy?”


His response surprised me: Cascading it through the organization. Getting the strategy done is relatively easy. But it won’t have any impact until individuals start to change what they do and how they do it. Every single person in the organization must understand their role in realizing the strategy, or it will never come to fruition. And they must be incentivized to adapt accordingly.


Strategy implementation isn’t rocket science. But 9 out of 10 organizations fail to implement effectively, in part, because they don’t focus on individual behavioral change. Raise your odds of success by cascading your strategy for 2023.

Most organizations are great at communicating the vision and strategy. But simply building awareness and buy-in is not enough. The gap between broad organizational strategy and individual behavioral change is simply too big for most people to bridge on their own.


To effectively cascade strategy, here are three things you should do beyond the standard communications and engagement activities:


1. Make it actionable

All too often, organizations end their strategies with objectives and key results. But as broad outcomes, objectives are not immediately actionable. So, teams wonder: What is the organization actually doing? And who is responsible for doing it? And confusion leads to inaction or, worse, contradictory action. Your strategy needs initiatives that are themselves actionable.


2. Delegate ownership

Economist Milton Friedman famously said, “When everyone owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union look decrepit within a year or two of their construction.” 

Ownership is a powerful catalyst for action. People are invested in and accountable for what they own. So, give the gift of ownership by delegating strategic initiatives.


3. Anchor performance management

As they prepare to set their annual/ quarterly goals, every individual should reflect on the questions: What does the strategy mean for my team and me? What can I do to help enable the strategy? What support do I need to make that change? This is the key to propelling individual change.


I'm considering doing a deep dive on better practices for fast and effective strategy implementation (that don't require you to spend a bundle on change management consultants!). Please reply to this newsletter with questions, so I can gauge interest and target content accordingly. 

I know it can be tempting this time of year to power-through your to-do list, so you can focus on the holidays. And while I always encourage time for rest and recharge, a little effort over the coming weeks to set yourself, your team, and your organization up for a fantastic 2023 will be well worth it. Most organizations spend weeks (if not months) at the start of the year trying to get organized and moving. This is how you can be better than most. 

Opportunities to Partner

Your Leadership Mindset Blueprint: What could you achieve if you felt engaged, motivated, and fulfilled--even when times are tough? How would you show-up differently for yourself, your team, and those you love if you felt calm, confident, and in control of your actions and reactions? How would it feel to navigate life with the support of someone who only has your best interests at heart, who listens without judgment, and who supports you in creating the life and legacy of your dreams? This life is possible! And it starts by shifting your mindset. This 4-hour experience will empower you to do just that with dramatic results. Read more and sign-up here.

Growth Mastermind: You’re ready to transform your life, organization, and legacy while building lifelong relationships with other likeminded leaders. The Growth Mastermind integrates coaching, strategic advisory, and peer-to-peer learning to push the bounds of your leadership potential and impact. This unique developmental experience will bring together small groups of four to six growth-minded leaders who are in similar stages of their leadership journeys. Read more and sign-up here.

One-on-one and Team Coaching: You're ready to improve your life, leadership, and impact. As your coach, I'll work with you (and your leadership team, if desired) to clarify your vision and purpose, set bold goals, build an actionable strategy, and cultivate the mindset, beliefs, and behaviors necessary to achieve sustainable results without pain and stress. 

Growth Advisory: You've been working diligently to grow your organization, but have yet to achieve sustainable results. Or perhaps you've done exceptionally well and are ready to take things to a new level. I can help you hone a compelling vision and strategy, then execute with confidence, ease, and joy. 


Links to Past Editions

Here are links to the first nine editions:

Nov 17Eight signs you've got a feedback problem & how to fix it!

Nov 10: Make performance management your unfair advantage

Oct: 1/ The four elements of a high-performing leadership team, 2/ Cultivate an empowered leadership mindset

Sep: 1/ Replan for Q4, 2/ Jumpstart growth through self-awareness, 3/ Three Qs to save you BIG in your next strategy process 

Aug: 1/ Adapt your strategy process, 2/ Support your mid-level managers, 3/ Halt your mid-career crisis

Jul: 1/ Win with values, 2/ How to get hybrid work right, 3/ Vacation like a European

Jun: 1/ The mid-year review, 2/ Sharpen your creative skills, 3/ Win through failure

May: 1/ Prepare for downturns; 2/ Better, faster decisions; 3/ Embrace difference to improve performance

Apr: 1/ The Q1 review, 2/ Prime yourself for success, 3/ Focus your innovation investments for impact


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