Five Points of Leadership

How often are you re-evaluating your business?

Ken Tracy shares his top five “must-haves” for leadership success, based on his 27 years of executive leadership experience.

With a candid and straightforward approach, Ken walks us through the missteps that many organizations take – and ways to avoid them -- regarding processes, people, role clarity, structure, and technology.
Many organizations look at failure quickly because they don't identify the structure with the processes and with the people. So they write it on a piece of paper, “We're going to have a president. The president is going to report to the board. Then the president will have five direct reports, the directors. And then from the directors we'll have this, this and this.”

That looks great on paper, but if people don't know what their roles are and what their responsibilities are and what outcome is expected for them to deliver they will fail. Then, with that, you’ve got to have the processes. The processes of any organization will be the backbone of success. The reason why is processes, if people leave, you already have the processes in place. So they step right in and they take over of where you left off.

What happens a lot of times, with any organization, the structure will create itself and then you lose control of what really needs to happen. You need to identify the right processes and the right people to go with that structure. I would encourage any organization, when they are going through the hiring process, to do personality testing and to do situational interviewing. I have found those two pieces to be the most effective way of identifying the right person for the right role.

The last piece is technology. It is critically important that you never overlook the abilities and talents that your people bring, but it's critically important that you never overlook what technology can do to help make them better. Many companies, in their growth cycle, they start off the first three years and they take off and they do extremely well. They hit that third year and they look back and go, "Why aren't we growing?" And many people are fearful to reinvest into technology or reinvest into their people so you stay sharp and on the cutting edge so your company can grow.

You've got to go back and you've got to look at what you became good at and what you didn't achieve back to your business plan. So, with that window that you have after three years, I guarantee you technology will have changed. I guarantee your people will have changed. I guarantee you that there will be an overturn in your personnel. If you don't ever reevaluate your business and you stop and become complacent, your business will fail. And the reason why your business will fail is because you will never be able to provide that value added to your customer.

At the end of the day, the customer is paying you for that value added. They can find it somewhere else because someone else out there is doing that. And if they're out there doing that, they're getting better than you. And the better they get, the less marketable you become. And you may have a window of those three years, you greet success, but I'll guarantee you at that five-year window, you're going to be wishing you had addressed the issues at your three-year window. And that's what leadership is all about, the ability to evaluate all parts of your business: the strategy, the structure, the processes, the people and the technology. That takes place on a three-year cycle, a five-year cycle and, from there, on an annual cycle.

Ken Tracy

Ken Tracy was appointed interim president of Cincinnati Christian University in February 2014. The Board of Trustees affirmed him for the position permanently in May 2014.

A 1988 graduate of CCU, Tracy has 27 years of financia...

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