Thank you to the 1,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading
7 Questions with Lori Harris
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Lori Harris
Name: Lori Harris
Current title: Managing Partner
Current organisation: Harris Whitesell Consulting LLC
Lori is a global human resource and organizational development executive. She specializes in helping high-performing leaders and organizations become more successful. Lori is experienced and holds numerous certifications as an executive and leadership coach, business consultant, marketer, and global business strategist. From leading as co-founder and managing partner of Harris Whitesell Consulting, to assessing and coaching corporate executives, leaders, and managers; to developing cohesive teams; creating effective employee engagement and culture strategies; and successfully managing global projects; Lori is passionate about creating value, growth and opportunity, maximizing leadership excellence, and optimizing business success!
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
The complexity of aligning strategy, talent, and culture to the mission, vision and values, while accelerating growth and profitability, maintaining competitive advantage, and organizational health and vitality.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Alignment, Vision, Values, Courage, Humility, Discipline, and Choice. I was a partner in another firm when I realized I was not in alignment with the principles and virtues I expect. Interestingly, within a few months, the opportunity was before me to step out and launch a new partnership that is now today, Harris Whitesell Consulting, LLC.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I believe in managing my energy and aligning my priorities daily. This includes sleep, reading and thought leadership time, writing/journaling, dressing, eating, movement, and my daily work tasks and delegations. I begin each work day with a quick email review, partner and admin check-in, and my list of to-dos. Each morning that list gets prioritized, and some items delegated. I also perform a quick start, stop, hold process for each item on that list before prioritizing. At the end of each work day, I review the list and check off the completed items and add any new items that came up that day. I also do any follow-ups on any delegated tasks that need or require timely attention and communications. I also give myself a moment to reflect and be grateful for all that happened that day by writing those thoughts of gratitude on the completed day's list. The end of day list becomes my new daily start list for the next day.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Listen don't tell. And...Be intentional about asking purposeful, open-ended questions. Be authentic.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
This is a hard question to answer. I have many books that have truly had a profound impact on my leadership. For instance: What Got You Here, Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith, The Five Dysfunction of Team by Patrick Lencioni, The Great Workplace by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin, Story 10x by Michael Margolis, any Peter Drucker or Stephen Covey book, and so many more.
What they all have in common for me is the deep excellence and value added, the exponential growth, and the opportunity for leaders, their teams and organization to realize with acceptance and integration of the author's theories, concepts, methods and programs.
I have had the honor of not only reading these books, but have met the authors, and in most cases, personally worked in some capacity with the authors and/or their teams. Or, within the offerings of the services my company offers, have become an authorized partner, or accredited and/or certified to facilitate, educate, coach, or instruct the methods, process, assessments, and/or programs.
I get to help other successful leaders and organizations maximize excellence and success by having become an expert and obtaining certifications in these powerful programs.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Building leadership capacity requires leaders to integrate and align leadership development into the culture of the organization - their vision, values, strategies and goals; ensure a state of readiness; assessing and evaluating leadership effectiveness, team cohesiveness, and if the culture is constructive or destructive ; investing and support leadership and team development; develop a system, process, and tools to measure and support leadership recruiting, hiring, onboarding, growth, retention, and succession; and by communicating, role modeling and engaging in the process of building leadership capacity - that includes my own commitment and accountability to self-mastery and leadership development.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Learning the value of leveraging the Mission, Values, and Vision to motivate others.
I was a new executive with a team of 8 leaders. The team was disengaged in our meetings. The department The meetings lacked any additional dialogue other than the leaders status. We were behind schedule and over budget on quite a few initiatives. The weekly status meetings had been designed to report the status of our company departments and their planned initiatives.
When I came on board it didn’t take long for me to realize that these leaders were doing what they had always done, and they had not been accountable to align their work to the company’s goals, let alone the vision and values. Morality was low and the team was not cohesive or realizing positive results.
It took less than a month for me to begin each meeting with having one of the leaders read the company’s mission, vision, and values. I made it a point to do this every week. After the first 2 weekly readings, I asked my team “What importance does our company’s mission, vision and values have towards this team success and our weekly status reporting?” And with that question, the team leaders began the process of being engaging in productive dialogue, and taking action to adjust their efforts to meet our goals and align to the company’s vision, values, and goals. Within a few weeks there was progress, change of attitude and the weekly reading was no longer a joke - they began to take pride and enjoy the camaraderie of working together to achieve collective results.