1st Executive Blog


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Every year we share the results of Mindshop International’s Business Leader Survey – this provides us with great insights about what kind of leadership development subjects matter most. This year we are going in-depth, and so this is the first blog in our “Mind the Performance Gap” series. In these we will focus on the top 10 Leadership Development issues identified by business leaders themselves.

At 1st Executive, we continually bridge the gap between capability and performance to help businesses realise competitive advantage. The 2018 Mindshop Business Leader Survey revealed the top 10 issues facing Business Leaders as they saw them, these are:

  1. Personal Focus
  2. Talent Management
  3. Short-Term Strategy
  4. Long-Term Strategy
  5. Empowering Leadership
  6. Effective Communication
  7. Time Management
  8. Problem-Solving
  9. Implementation & Coaching
  10. Technology Early Adoption 
Leadership Development

Personal Focus – Magnified

In today’s busy and information overloaded commercial world, it’s not surprising that, ‘Personal Focus’ was highlighted as a significant challenge. The survey revealed that business leader confidence has increased for 2018 from 2017.  Profit has come to the top of the list as the key measure for success as against prior years of consolidation or or accelerated growth. However, the reality is that profit does not come without focus and we constantly see the issue of leaders being caught in the “busyness” trap. How do they avoid this?

Years ago, I did a one-week course of effective communication. They key area of attention was speaking. Speaking in public, at meetings and to your team. Over the course of a week as a 25 year old, I had these consultants drum into me, the value and clarity that a “theme”, a theme consciously chosen and committed to in writing, brings to the communication process. They then added the concept of key words – these were tools to keep a story, however told, on message. Over the years I have found the lessons invaluable in presentations, sales meetings, off-the-cuff speaking and even in crisis in PR.

It is also highly relevant in Personal Focus – it answers the “How do I keep myself on track?” questions and when you consider that the success of leaders relies heavily on clear and focused communication – it benefits the enterprise as well. Supported by as few as three measurable and realistic targets, themes and key words will keep you on track.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

Leadership Developemnt

Personal Focus – A Ripple Effect

When I reflect, I am fascinated today by how that model of themes and keywords is actually driving some of the best online marketing in the world – the terabytes of data produced every minute just keep proving the model. This learning leads in turn to the larger concept of consistently using mental models.

It follows, that if my theme is “growth” and my keyword is “profit” (for example) I am espousing both a goal and a strategy on one level. If I then add a mental model as simple as Now Where How, then I have a pathway to the execution of strategy.

What is more, these two simple mental models can be taught, managed, enriched and delivered through others – but we will talk about leverage another time.


“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch

Get in touch for a complete copy of the Mindshop Business Leaders Survey results – and grow yourself.  Check out our own leadership development philosophy by clicking here.

In the meantime, consider carefully your possible next Actions.