Leadership Presence: How to perfect your Touch Points
June 10, 2013
Use Environmental Reminders to Lead More Effectively
June 24, 2013

So much to do and so little time to do it! That’s one of the most familiar complaints I hear from the leaders I coach. Too many get lured into taking on work they should delegate to their reports. I’ll bet you’re in the same boat.

africa_big-five_326When you busy yourself with work you should delegate, you can’t lead. Worse, you forfeit power when you waste your time attending to business you have no business dealing with as a leader. Your job as a leader is to enable the people you lead to work more effectively.

It’s a full-time job for any intimate leader to improve the abilities your team members already possess and to help them develop new skills that will raise the quality of your organization’s culture and to deliver the profit-making results you’ve been challenged to achieve.

To help you get on top of this priority-setting challenge, I’ve devised a simple technique I call focusing on the Big Five Priorities. In my home continent of Africa, the Big Five refers to the five most challenging and most dangerous game animals of Africa—the Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhinoceros, Lion, and Leopard. The idea is to identify five top priorities and focus on them as exclusively as possible.

How to Choose Your Big Five

The idea is simple. Assign one of the Big Five game animals to each of your top five leadership priorities. Choose your Big Five for the results they will bring your organization in the long run. These results, naturally, must be aligned to your organization’s goals and to your personal career and life goals as well.

Unlike the African Big Five, your priorities will be the least challenging and dangerous. That’s because the priorities you choose should be those best suited to you as a leader and as a professional rising in your career. They will be the least dangerous, because every step you take working on them is a step in the right direction for you as an intimate leader. It’s the lower priorities, the work you should not be doing, that are actually dangerous.

A Five-Step Selection Tool

Download the Big Five Priorities Worksheet or view it and use it to design your own worksheet. For each priority, I ask you to consider five criteria.

1. Priority Name Name the priority. Give it a big-game name, if you like.
2. Leadership Action Briefly describe the action you will take in terms of achieving the goals you mean to reach for your organization and for yourself.
3. Long-term Result Think through and record the long-term results the activity promises in measurable terms.
4. Short-term Result Do the same for a few top short-term results.
5. Aligned Skills Finally, describe why you are uniquely suited to advance this priority in terms of both the skills you will use and those you will develop as you work toward the goals.

By aligning your priorities with your organization’s goals as well as with your personal career objectives, you will serve your organization and yourself with the best of your leadership abilities.

Then by focusing as much, if not all, of your time on your Big Five, you will expedite your journey to leadership greatness. These are the kinds of leadership techniques you can practice alongside other leaders at our next CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshop. Register here.


Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.