When I was in school at the Air Force Academy, these grades would have made me a very happy fellow. It’s not that I was a bad student, it was mostly that it took me a while to figure out how to be a good one. It’s a bit analogous to the place I am in life now. I’m now seriously engaged in the business of becoming the best CEO and leader that I can be.
Which brings me back to my grades:
Not bad. All in all. But not good enough. The response rate is about two-thirds, which should be enough to presume that I’ve got a reasonable picture of what people think. I don’t really expect that I’ll ever get to all A+, but I’d like to move those B’s up! I’ll have these for future reference, and future evaluations, I can query about progress in particular.
More interesting in most ways, are the questions that I asked along with this and the request for comment as well. First, the questions, the comments relate back and will shine a bit of a light on the question rankings.
- Company guidance. How am I doing in navigating the company?
The average score, with 10 being great, was 8.08 Fourteen staff, rated this an 8, so again, not bad, but room for improvement. These are difficult times to manage and navigate any company to be sure. However, I’m not sure if there is ever actually an easy time to navigate a fast growing company in particular. It’s awfully easy to get distracted by shiny things!
- Company culture. How are we doing in maintaining or developing the company culture that we want?
The scores here are a bit lower. The average was 7.62, but at least three people put it right in the middle, indicating that at least some folks feel we are in danger of losing some vital part of who we are. In some regard, this isn’t really a question about me directly, but ultimately, everything comes back to my role as leader, so I take it all seriously. I do feel like company culture is everyone’s job, which begs the question of how empowered folks are to have an impact on culture. For now, mostly questions and not answers.
Finally, I asked a pretty personal question:
- Daily interactions. How am I to work with?
I wanted to get some feedback about the level of comfort that people feel with me on a daily basis and whether I remain approachable and just as I would want to know for any team member, can I get things done with others. I scored a pretty respectable 8.76 and eleven staff maxed me out on this one. I’m not planning on resting on laurels, but good to know that most people feel good about working with me.
Comments were decidedly the most interesting part, illuminating many of the question responses. The biggest areas of interest were a desire for even more communication about what’s going on in the company. We’ve been working to improve this recently, with an intercompany webpage where all manner of things get posted, but we can probably never do too much with this and I realize that I’ve been doing less to elaborate on initiatives and projects than I could be doing. Note to self…
Also, over the course of the past few years, I’ve spent less and less time with the field staff of the company. We do a lot of things now and it’s become easy to become too distant from the field. While it may be benign neglect, it’s still neglect.
The other big area is related to the one above. I need to spread myself out a bit more. I do make it a practice to walk around the office every day and check in with everyone who is here and I spend a good bit of time at our training center as well. We have a pretty spread out staff, with three offices, two where I can easily see everyone often and one in Denver where it’s more of a challenge. Folks would like to see more of me and I’d like to see more of them. I need to figure out the best and most effective way to achieve that. This geographic separation of the offices and staff was another big concern for many people. It’s primarily related to culture. Sure open to suggestions from all my readers about how to conquer this problem!
It’s a lot to think about and work on and I’m glad to hear all the input. In most cases, the results validated what I was thinking. Some things were not really on my radar screen yet are completely valid and should be addressed. The reality is that I’m probably harder on myself than any of what this survey would indicate. I’m truly proud of our staff and our company and everything that we’ve achieved together. But, there’s always room for improvement and I’ll be doing my best to work on these and other issues that I know will make me better in the future.
Finally, it appears that I pick my nose too much and shouldn’t put my feet up when I’m wearing flip-flops (my primary shoe of choice). I can probably fix both those without too much trouble (at least the flip-flop issue).