In an attempt to become a more effective leader, I have spent a significant amount of time researching strategies that I can use to help me deal with specific challenges. In this vein, I have developed a number of different checklists to help me succeed at overcoming these challenges.

Using a checklist is a simple but meaningful approach to improving execution and to establishing a robust process to ensure that challenges are resolved. It allows a person the opportunity to regain their bearings, and develop an effective and standardized approach to dealing with specific issues, and to ensure the issues to not reoccur in the future.

When considering a potential goal, I apply the SMART mentality:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Truthful/Timely

We all have new challenges and issues to deal with on a day to day basis. These challenges are often avoided, or are overanalyzed and made into complex issues limiting our chances of implementing timely solutions. Sometimes we overcomplicate things, and forget that oftentimes, simpler is better.

When new challenges surface, I follow the adage ‘every problem has a solution’ and work through the following simple, yet effective, steps:

  1. Write it down
  2. Define the problem in detail. It is difficult to fix what you don’t understand
  3. List the potential alternatives, and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  4. Make a decision. Most times, the worst decision is no decision
  5. Follow up on your commitments, and ensure you follow through on the plan

Although simple in nature, and common sense to most, I have found that making use of these simple checklists often results in being a more effective leader with a happier and more productive team.