Executive Checklist

The past 6 – 12 months have been devastating for both large and small organizations across the capital region.  It continues to be hard to miss the headlines or watch the daily newscasts.  Last month I provided guidelines on how to lead your business with purpose and agility.  How are you and your business doing?

Over 25% of the top companies are purged out of the Fortune 500 every year*.  Closer to home, we can all name close friends and colleagues whose business has not survived the recent economic upheaval.

At times, owners and entrepreneurs have done everything right, and their business has become a casualty.  While the stock market is showing signs of life, companies are still at risk.  If you are doing more of the same, your company is susceptible to unwarranted risk.

Consider the checklist questions as your roadmap to renewal  

1.       Clarify Market Changes –


ÿ        How have your customers expectations changed and/or remained the same?

ÿ        How have you reinforced the relationship bond with your current customers?

ÿ        Can you name 2 – 3 changes made to respond to the changing needs of customers?


2.       Look In the Mirror –


ÿ        How might your past successes be interfering with business renewal?

ÿ        What one decision would the management team make if you couldn’t vote?

ÿ        Where are you further leveraging your strengths in the new economic order?


3.       Redefine Managerial Expectations –


ÿ        Which tasks have you communicated with managers is their highest priority?

ÿ        What functional tasks and reports have you suspended to create time for managers?

ÿ        What special projects are you bringing managers together to collaborate on?


4.       Establish Action Teams –


ÿ        What company issues have you prioritized as those needing immediate action?

ÿ        How have you asked the management team to roll-up their sleeves & work together?

ÿ        Which of your best leaders/managers have you personally invited to participate?


5.       Under Promise / Over Deliver –


ÿ        How have you provided current customers value at no additional cost?

ÿ        When was the last time you tapped into the creative ideas of your organizational talent?

ÿ        What creative enhancements have you included in proposals, instead of entering the vicious spiral of cutting costs?


“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any other experience that reveals the human spirit.”

E. E. Cummings

Rewards don’t come as frequently to those who don’t dare to risk with the creative ideas that at their disposal.   How are you managing risk to solidify customer relationships and revise the roadmap to your future destiny?


This is a time for business owners and executives to shoulder their responsibility, and at the same time, involve others in the challenges at hand.  Having not participated in an economic cycle like today, your success will be in following the roadmap of clarity, communication and commitment.  Next month, I’ll interview one of your peers to provide you the credibility you’re looking for on this topic.


* Since 1955, when the first FORTUNE 500 was created, more than 1,800 companies have appeared on the list. Many of these companies have changed names over this period, owing to mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies. Other companies have gone private, or simply changed their names.