Susan Battley

Author Archives

  • What’s Your “Presidents IQ”? Leader Quiz

    PreZDay small_16822090_OKThis month, highlighted by Presidents Day, naturally makes me think of presidents. Test your “Presidents IQ” with this 12- question leader quiz. The correct answers are provided below.

    1. The National Park Service was created by an act signed by:
    A. Ulysses Grant
    B. Theodore Roosevelt
    C. Woodrow Wilson
    D. John F. Kennedy

    2. Which President was a Rhodes scholar:
    A. John F. Kennedy
    B. Jimmy Carter
    C. Woodrow Wilson
    D. Bill Clinton

    3. Which President never held office as a state’s governor?
    A. George H.W. Bush
    B. James Monroe
    C. Calvin Coolidge
    D. William McKinley

    4. Which President extended the boundaries of the United States to the Pacific?
    A. Thomas Jefferson
    B. James Polk
    C. Theodore Roosevelt
    D. Abraham Lincoln

    5. Who was the youngest man to serve as President?
    A. Andrew Jackson
    B. John F. Kennedy
    C. Theodore Roosevelt
    D. James Madison

    6. Which President said: “A president’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.”
    A. Jimmy Carter
    B. George Washington
    C. Lyndon B. Johnson
    D. Richard Nixon

    7. The number of Presidents who received the Nobel Peace Prize is:
    A. One
    B. Two
    C. Three
    D. Four

    8. Who said: “The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all.”
    A. John F. Kennedy
    B. Harry S. Truman
    C. Dwight Eisenhower
    D. Ronald Reagan

    9. Which President achieved the highest electoral vote?
    A. Thomas Jefferson
    B. George W. Bush
    C. Gerald Ford
    D. Ronald Reagan

    10. Which President has issued the most executive orders?
    A. George Washington
    B. Abraham Lincoln
    C. Franklin D. Roosevelt
    D. Barack Obama

    11. Who said: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you
    want done because he wants to do it.”
    A. Bill Clinton
    B. James Madison
    C. Dwight Eisenhower
    D. Calvin Coolidge

    12. Which President established the Environmental Protection Agency by executive order?
    A. Richard Nixon
    B. Lyndon Johnson
    C. Gerald Ford
    D. Jimmy Carter

    Scroll down for the correct answers.



    1.  A.  Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service in 1916.

    2.  D.  Bill Clinton.

    3.  A. George H.W. Bush never served as a state’s governor.

    4.  B.  James Polk was President during the Mexican War (1846-48) which resulted in the U.S. gaining California.

    5.  C.  Theodore Roosebelt was 42 when he succeeded McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901.

    6.  C.  Lyndon B. Johnson.

    7.  D.  Four:  Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Carter, and Obama.

    8.  B.  Truman.

    9.  D.  Reagan in 1984.

    10. C.  Franklin D.Roosevelt issued 3,728 orders between 1933 and 1945.

    11. C.  Eisenhower.

    12.  A.  Nixon in 1970.

    Ten or more correct?  You really know your Presidents!



  • Defined By A Job – New York Times

    Career Couch | By Eilene Zimmerman

    Defined By A Job, Looking to Move On

    Q. You want to move into management or a higher executive position, but you’re so good at your current job that you’re now defined by it. How can you find a way out of this pigeonhole?

    Once you determine where in the company you see yourself moving, create a plan to get there. Start by talking to your manager. Express your gratitude for all you’ve learned and accomplished and emphasize how much you value being a part of the organization, says Susan Battley, chief executive of Battley Performance Consulting in East Setauket, N.Y.

    Be sure to come to the conversation with ideas about how to begin your transition. “Don’t just say you feel your career needs to grow, because then you’ve put all this on your boss,” Ms. Battley says. “Instead, say things like, ‘I’m looking for opportunities to manage a team or have more exposure to customers.’ ”

    (Excerpt from Print Issue February 10, 2013; Page BU15)

    Read full article here:


  • Are You A High-Definition Leader? (Video and Quiz)

    To execute brilliantly as a leader, you need to be operating in high-definition (HD) mode. By “high-definition” I mean that your goals, strategy and performance expectations are crystal-clear, vivid and compelling to yourself, your team and all other stakeholders. They also need to be able to stand up to close scrutiny. Therefore, your plans and explanations must crisply convey a high value proposition and an actionable path to success.

  • Don’t Put Customers First, and Other Contrarian Commandments –

    By Susan Battley

    Here we are with one month already ticked off our calendars. Perhaps your New Year’s resolutions included new professional and business priorities. But have you considered the activities you should not be doing? I offer three contrarian commandments that challenge conventional wisdom and the unintended consequences of daily executive focus and decision-making.

    Read full article here:

  • Seven Crucial Actions for Leading in Complex Times

    Complexity is a fact of management life in our interdependent global marketplace.  Paradoxically, the more complex things become, the greater the need for leaders to be able to extract, focus and act on core essentials.

    Thriving in complex times involves seven crucial leader performance areas.  Do you consistently deliver in these areas? ‎

  • What’s Your Return-on-Time?

    Performance Tip

    Twice in recent weeks I’ve found myself in small-group meetings that included senior executives who did not need to be there.  After one of these meetings, I asked the chief operating officer, someone I know well, why he was at a gathering that clearly did not require his input or endorsement.

    “Damned if I know,” he replied honestly. “Few people here seem to value my time.”

    To finish the year strong, you and your team must exercise discipline with time allocation so that priority tasks and commitments are completed thoroughly and well.  What activities fall into this category?  Performance reviews, budget decisions, and customer care leap to mind.  These areBusinessman Writing in Scheduler not activities to be rushed.  Yet in reality they often are, with the result being missed opportunities to maximize talent performance and bottom-line results.

    To help calculate your Return-on-Time (ROT), check out our online Meeting Value Calculator Tool. It can help you determine the “cost” of a meeting for planning purposes.  It can also help you determine after the fact whether a meeting yielded a reasonable ROT.

    ©Susan Battley.  All rights reserved.

  • Building A Winning Top Team – Huffington Post

    Lessons From Obama’s Cabinet Picks

    by Susan Battley

    Full Article:

    The beginning of President Obama’s second term seems an appropriate time to look at what makes a winning top team. Four years ago, he conceived of his Cabinet as a “team of rivals,” taking his inspiration from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s best-selling biography of Abraham Lincoln. Just as Lincoln appointed former rivals for the presidency to his Cabinet in 1860, Obama appointed former Democratic presidential competitor Hillary Clinton as his first Secretary of State. In 2008 he told Time magazine, “I don’t want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone.”

    By contrast, Obama’s second-term appointments thus far appear to place an emphasis on personal familiarity and extensive interaction, as suggested by his replacement choices to head the State, Treasury and Defense Departments. All three appointees — John Kerry, Jack Lew and Chuck Hagel, respectively — are trusted allies.

  • Executive Acceleration: From Technical Expert to Leader


    Eric had intellectual firepower to spare. With a PhD in electrical engineering and more than 50 scholarly articles to his credit, he was an acknowledged expert in his field.  He also had a successful track record as the team leader of a $10 million international project. Due to the sudden retirement of the Executive Director for health reasons, Eric was promoted to the top position on the basis of his past project successes and his technical reputation. His responsibilities now included oversight of the organization’s 1,500 employees and spearheading an acquisition of their largest competitor.

    As a newly minted leader, Eric was acutely aware of what he did not know. He was also passionate and committed to succeeding in his new position.  When the retiring Executive Director suggested that he work with an executive coach to scale up quickly, Eric seized the suggestion enthusiastically as a just-in-time service to support his successful transition.


    Eric’s executive acceleration program included a custom assessment or fact-finding phase. His coach conducted one-on-one interviews with all key stakeholders, including board directors and his senior management team of direct reports. Some of his direct reports had been his superiors formerly.  He also undertook a comprehensive behavioral battery, his first ever, which shed light on his thinking, communication, and interpersonal styles.

    Eric’s program focused on his immediate needs:

    • Elevate his executive presence
    • Raise his strategic focus to enterprise-wide issues and opportunities
    • Enhance his interpersonal communications with key constituencies inside and outside the organization.


    His coach’s initial fact-finding confirmed Eric’s thinking about appointing a chief operating officer to handle the day-to-day aspects of the business acquisition.

    Eighteen months later, Eric became the organization’s first chief executive officer in recognition of solid post-acquisition business results and the retention of key talent.

    That’s brilliant execution!

  • How to Be A Great Leader-Coach

    When it comes to core capabilities that prepare a person for the highest levels of executive responsibility and success, bosses loom large as role models, mentors and coaches.  They are major influencers of how top-performing professionals develop on the job.

    At the management level, professionals regularly tell me about key lessons learned from their superiors in self-confidence, executive outlook, managing relationships and handling adversity.

    To unleash their potential and deliver consistent winning results, top talent needs to be guided and inspired by great leader-coaches.