Snapshot Series: Ask to Lead

Today’s Snapshot Series features Stacy Reichert. Stacy is the mother of our chapter member Sydney Reichert as well as SVP Strategy & Business Development at PepsiCo Foodservice. She visited our chapter meeting in October and spoke on leadership. Below, she shares a few highlights from her presentation:


ASK to LEAD

Duh. That title seems pretty obvious…if you want to get leadership experience, it occasionally will be necessary to “raise your hand” and ask for it or actively seek it out. However, that’s not the point I want to make. Rather, successful leaders know what questions to ASK to effectively LEAD their organizations. The leader who asks the right questions (even if they’re tough ones!) at the right time with the right intention will be seen as a respected, empowering and inspiring leader. When questions are preceded by an encouraging or expectation-setting remark, even better. This leadership tactic is likely seen in someone who is able to influence, collaborate and “bring others along” with him. Here are a few examples of some common situations and potential questions that illustrate what I mean.

When deciding to move the team in a new direction:
“I have decided that we will need to cancel that project…how will that impact the team and your need to reallocate resources?”

When hearing about an exciting recommendation:
“I really like the recommendation the team is making but I want to make sure we’ve looked at all of the options…what other options did the team consider and how do they compare to the recommendation?”

When reviewing lackluster team performance:
“I know that each of you is as unhappy about our performance in the first quarter as I am…what’s the most important thing each member of the team thinks we should do to turn our performance around this quarter?”

When more effort is needed by the team:
“Each of you brings a level of expertise that can contribute to our success but I’m not seeing that reflected in the team’s work on this project so far…how will the team work differently in the next two weeks to bring bigger ideas that enable us to address the problem/opportunity faster?

When wanting to lend support without disempowering the team:
“The team has clearly worked hard to get to this point …what support do you need from me to help the team overcome the last remaining obstacles to success?”

Bottom line, remember that your team wants to impress you. They want to build your trust in them. They want to know they’re adding value and that you believe in their ability to perform at their fullest potential. Don’t be a leader who reads ahead in the presentation, acts like she has all of the answers or is tempted to just tell the team what to do. No doubt, there will be situations where such approaches are necessary but more often than not, you will want to “ask to lead” and your team will thank you for it!

Stacy K. Reichert, MU ‘84
SVP Strategy & Business Development
PepsiCo Foodservice

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