Key Leadership Success Factors

Key Leadership Success Factors

These are in no particular order and in successful companies all three are present within the leadership and culture. In underperforming companies one or more of these is generally the reason for such performance. There are numerous articles about various leadership concepts, most of the time they are subsets of one of these three themes.


Having high expectations is fundamental to a high performing company. These expectations must be lived out daily. I just read an article in Forbes magazine concerning holding people accountable. This is merely a subset of having high expectations. Inspect what you expect is a military axiom. Look for the behavior that results in high performance that meets your expectations. Complement such behavior and affirm the individual or team that has delivered on it. On the other side, express your disappointment (in private) when performance does not deliver the results expected. In most underperforming companies, the leader says one thing and really expects something else. This really means that he or she has low expectations. Accountability is part and parcel to having high expectations.


Almost all leaders say that they value people and that their people are their greatest assets and are the reason for their success. The underlying principle is that great people get great results. In high performing companies, this is generally true. In many companies, underperformance is widespread due to having insufficient talent, leadership tolerating underperformance due to loyalty to a previous high performer, or due to the organizational needs outgrowing an individual, or due to the thought that we need someone now rather than taking the time to find the right someone. All these things are reflective of the “Warm Body Syndrome”. The corollary to great people getting great results is that when the results are not there, we should question as to whether or not our people are great in their present role and are contributing at a high level.


Leaders are visible to the team whether they choose to be or not. Subordinates are always looking to the leader for signs of what they should or should not do. Role modeling is key. It is important that key values and initiatives are not just talked about, but communicated in the actions of the leader. On rare occasions, this includes being involved in the resolution of chronic (long standing, unresolved) problems. The leader must allow time for the problem to be resolved given the normal processes and procedures. However, when the problem is not resolved after repeated attempts or when the consequences of the problem continuing is so severe that the business is at risk, then the leader must become involved at the critical level of detail. This is disruptive, but intentionally so. This level of detail involves observation and questioning where the problem is occurring. This is with the customer, on the shipping dock, on the shop floor, etc.… It should be viewed as a teachable moment. When the problem is resolved, the leader should take time to explain how the root cause was discovered and the problem solved. This will increase the problem solving capability of the team members. It is important that this not become routine, but that it is communicating to the team the importance of resolving this problem including holding them accountable for not having resolved it when it had been their responsibility to do so.
Shoreview Management Advisors has deep experience in helping CEOs and owners identify opportunities and assess the strengths and weaknesses within their business. This includes helping the leaders become more effective through living out high expectations, ensuring that the team and individuals are fully capable of excelling, and that long standing problems are resolved. Shoreview Management Advisors can assist the leader in preparing for and executing the changes necessary to achieve tangible business results in the near term.


Business growth is dependent on the shift from primary reliance on past knowledge and aging practices, to a forward-facing perspective with a clear view of evolving business environment and best-practices aligned with conditions in today’s marketplace.