Towards the end of 2022, I noticed many executive leaders running from meeting to meeting, conference to conference, all while collaborating with many stakeholders and leading the organization and multi-disciplinary teams. These leaders seemed to slide into the holiday season at high speed, and that left them feeling burnt out, unproductive and unmotivated. Now that the new year has started, these executive leaders have come back to work wondering how they can make a difference in the upcoming year and start it with a different approach. This will allow them to avoid coming back to these feelings later in the year as they typically do and change this unproductive pattern.

How to create the right space and start 2023 focusing on what matters most … leading the way to:

  1. create the impact that you want to make,
  2. manage the sometimes competing expectations of stakeholders, board members, teams, and team members, and
  3. sustain a viable and relevant business?

#1 -Take care of yourself

I know you’ve heard all about self-care before, but if you truly want to do things differently in the coming year, you have got to take care of yourself first! When we take care of our mind, body and spirit, much more is possible. We have more energy, and we think more clearly. We are more creative. When we are running from one thing to the next, we don’t have the space to observe what is evolving, be strategic and visionary, or understand our organizational dynamics.

As an Executive leader, it’s on you to set the bar, if your colleagues see you making changes, they will follow suit.

Tips to manage this:

  1. Only attend meetings that absolutely require your attention. Is it possible to delegate some of them?
  2. Schedule breaks between meetings, 15 minutes minimum. If the organizing party cannot push back the meeting by 15 minutes, ask if you can join late.
  3. Schedule the important things – lunch breaks, focus time, going for a 10-minute walk. Most things in your calendar get attended to right?

Find more information on combating workplace stress in this article

#2 – Create and communicate clear priorities

Another area that you can work on as an executive leader is to have key clear priorities and find ways of delegating additional things to others. This supports you to focus on what counts and supports them to grow and develop. Here are some great steps for creating clear priorities.

It is key that you are clear throughout the organization on what you want from people, the context of what you’re asking, the purpose behind it, and the definition of success (what done looks like). In parallel, ensure systems, support and communications are in place that paves the way for people to fulfill these expectations that lead to the definition of the desired success.

Model what you expect from others. Consistently remind people of their purpose and their role in creating the desired overarching vision and outcomes. Be clear about the behaviours that you want them to demonstrate as they are doing it.

Keep your priorities in focus – the things previously mentioned – and do your own growth and development work. You are leading in a new era, one that is about information, complexity and exponential change. This requires you to drop traditional ways of leading and learning new ways that bring people together, distribute leadership, and enable sharing of ideas and innovation that you can not do alone at the senior leadership level. Ensure responsibility is distributed through every aspect of the organization based on shared purpose and desired outcomes.

#3 – Identify your Positive impact

  1. If you have not done a recent Leadership Values assessment, get one done. We offer the Barrett Leader Self-Assessment as well as 360 versions of Barrett Leadership Values assessments, and Barrett Leadership Team Values assessments.
  2. Determine how to amplify your practice of the value you wish to be demonstrated through your executive leadership. People look to executive leaders to model the way.
  3. From your values, create a clear purpose statement for yourself. This purpose will help you stay the course of your journey.
  4. Support your Direct Reports to identify and lead from their values and identify the clear purpose that keeps them focused and motivated.

young executive leaders brainstorming with a laptop

#4 – Automate Low-value work

  1. Support your teams to evaluate how things are being done currently – processes, procedures, and systems.
  2. Ask them to share with you and each other what is working or not working. 
  3. Help them with the resources required to keep what’s working, eliminate or revamp what is not working, and create new systems for current times. 
  4. Have them research and find ways to make mundane, repetitive tasks automated.
  5. This will support them to understand each other’s challenges, share ideas, and come up with shared solutions.

#5 – Lean into the strengths of your people

  1. Know what you do and don’t do well. Share your strengths and role.
  2. Invite others to lean on you for what you do in your role.
  3. Be clear with people about the meaning of the Vision of the organization. 
  4. Be clear about the context in which they are being asked to do things.
  5. Listen to their perspectives and ideas as they have strengths and focus on areas that you cannot possibly have as an executive leader.
  6. Have faith in your ability to lead great people and lean into their strengths.

 How can Spark Success help?

If you want to make a difference in your working environment this year and know you need to make changes, executive coaching can help. At Spark Success we:

  1. Support you to identify and keep your own priorities at the top of your list to make the impact that you want to make;
  2. Support you to refresh the understanding of your own current values and how you are leveraging them.
  3. Support you to identify a clear overarching purpose for yourself.
  4. Support you and your team to identify or enliven the shared purpose, vision and desired outcomes for the organization, and to communicate these in a way that is meaningful and creates alignment;
  5. Support you to delegate to others in a way that enables you to stay on top of what’s emergent and to act on this for the organization to remain relevant and viable

If you are ready to take a new approach to inspire and empower yourself and your stakeholders, board members, and team members, please reach out and book a complimentary Exploration Call with me at