The Complete Executive Survey

Focus: Make Health and Fitness Your Top Priority

Disciplined eating habits and clear personal philosophy about food.

1. I know how to eat (what, when, how much, how often) to fully energize me and support my long term health. I am able to resist the temptations and deal with the meal irregularities that occur related to my work schedule and demands.

Daily Activity and Energy Awareness

I break a sweat and/or walk 10,000 steps every day. I know what time of day best suits me for exercise and I plan the rest of my day around it. I make accommodations and adjustments to my routine when my work schedule interferes with my normal exercise practices.

Weight Management

I maintain a healthy weight.

Goals and Metrics

I have goals for my health stats and fitness efforts and track against those metrics on a regular and ongoing basis.

Hydration and Supplementation

I drink water several times a day and I support my health with vitamins and supplements to ensure I stay vital and fully energized.

Cross-training and recovery strategies

I have changed my exercise routine in the past three months AND I have at least three different types of exercise I enjoy and pursue regularly. I warm up before and cool down after exercise.


I know how much sleep I require in order to function well and I get that amount most nights. I get up early, feeling rested and energized.


I have had a physical examination in the last year and am up to date on all key diagnostic tests (including any proactive tests related to age). I follow all professionally recommended protocols to manage any current and/or chronic conditions I have.

Support mechanisms and equipment

Every item I require in order to function optimally (eyeglasses, orthotics, hearing aids, etc.) is up to date and working well. Everything I need for my exercise activities is functional, up to date, accessible and clean.

Social support

I have exercise partners, group members or other accountability and sociability partners specifically related to exercise, and I ask them to call me out if they notice I am faltering on my commitments to exercise.


Focus: Craft a Life Plan

Goal alignment with partner

My spouse/life partner and I have discussed our individual and shared long term goals. We know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there together.

Financial plan

I have calculated my long term financial requirements and I am living based on a plan to meet those requirements.

Career goal

I know what I want to achieve in my career and I have a plan to accomplish my goals.


I have people I can – and do – turn to for advice and support.

Retirement lifestyle vision

I have thought about how I want to be living my life 10, 20 and 30 years from now.

Social service/contribution

I know which causes and issues are important to me and I make contributions of money and/ or time to organizations that support those causes and issues.


I know the impact I want to have on the world or my chosen segment of it and my career and personal plans will support me in creating that impact.

Residence and geography

I live in a part of the world that I enjoy and my home provides me with the necessary peace and restful sanctuary.

Perfect day

My days energize me and provide opportunities for me to work in “flow.”

Will/bequest/philanthropic plan

My will is up to date and includes bequests to charitable or cause-based organizations that do work I believe in.


Focus: Invest in Relationships


I have a life partner and we are both happy in our relationship OR we are actively involved in process to strengthen our relationship OR I am single and happy.


I am happy with, and make regular investments in, my relationships with my children – OR I have no children and accept that status.

Extended family

I have amicable relationships with my extended family and have no bad blood or unfinished business to clean up.


I know my neighbours by name and have chatted with some of them recently.


I feel like I am part of a community outside of work.


I have amicable professional relationships with the key players at my major competitors.


I have same-level friends and colleagues and regularly invest in my relationships with them.

Direct reports

I know something about my direct reports outside of their work.


I have a number of friends who’ve been in my life for a long time and who know they’re very valuable to me even if we don’t see each other often.


I connect regularly with every member of my Board and work to foster positive, transparent relationships with each of them.


Focus: Be a Real Leader

Leadership philosophy

I have a clear philosophy about and approach to leadership and conduct myself according to that philosophy.

Performance review and 360 feedback

I have had a 360 feedback survey (qualitative or quantitative) in the past two years AND have acted upon the feedback I received. I have had a performance review in the past year.

Values and walking the talk

I live and lead by a clear set of personal values and I want to be challenged if my behavior communicates something different than those values.

Core competencies

I operate at least capably if not masterfully across all the core competencies identified in our organization’s leadership model. I know where my areas of development are and am taking action to constantly improve.

"Soft" skills

I understand that how I get things done is at least as important as what gets accomplished. I know when to coach and when to direct, when to influence and how to inspire. I am aware of my strengths and areas for development with regard to my interpersonal and situational skills. I listen well and know how to both give and receive feedback constructively.

Performance and conduct expectations

The people in my organization know what is expected of them and what the implications are of not meeting those expectations. We have a communications program in place to ensure expectations are clear to everyone at every level and training/education support is available where necessary.

Innovation and creativity

I believe that relevant innovation is critical to our success. I welcome new ideas and embrace a climate where creativity is valued and encouraged. I believe failure is an opportunity to learn.


I can see patterns and systems in apparently disparate sets of information. I can connect the dots and lead the development of long term, big picture solutions.

Presentation and communication skills

I manage my appearance and work style to ensure I am setting the desired tone for others in my organization. I work continuously to hone my written and verbal communication skills to ensure I am clear and compelling at all times. I am comfortable with public speaking.

Personal story

I have developed a way to tell my personal success story that aligns with my leadership brand and reflects my personal values.


Focus: Put the Business Basics in Place


We have a clear vision for the long term impact our organization is striving to make, and every employee knows and understands the vision.


We know what we’re good at and how we will work to advance our vision. Each employee understands how they can contribute.

Strategic plan

My organization or team has a strategic plan and we review it annually.

Five year targets and goals

We have metrics in place to measure our growth and success five years into the future and we examine those metrics annually and revise as appropriate. We do not react to short term aberrations in the marketplace

One-year operating plan

My organization or team has a one-year operating plan and we have the resources in place to execute against that plan.

Talent review and succession plan

My organization or team has annual talent reviews and has successors identified—and prepared—for all key positions, including my own. We value, and seek, diversity across our entire workforce.

Measures of success

My organization or team knows, and measures, the factors beyond the financial goals that will ensure we stay on track toward our objectives.

Crisis management plan

My organization or team has a formal plan in place to deal with emergencies and unforeseen events, both internal and external to the company.

Corporate social responsibility plan

My organization or team has a clear point of view on issues that we support and we have programs in place to support those causes.

Technology plan

My organization has a plan to ensure we stay current and effective in our use of technology to support our business, both internally and externally. We understand how to apply technology to support productivity, process and systems management, customer connections, and employee recruitment/retention.


Take Charge of Your Career

I have a career plan

I am clear about what I need to accomplish in order to feel that I have been successful in my career, and I have short and medium term goals that are part of that plan. I have set approximate timing milestones for each key goal.

Personal/professional goal alignment

My career plan aligns with and contributes to my overall personal life plan.

Passion for the business

I believe in my organization’s mission and vision and I am passionate about the business we’re in. I am my company’s best salesperson.


I have an up to date resume.

Salary and market value

I am comfortable with my compensation and know where I stand in the external marketplace based on my role, organization, industry, and location.

Recruiter connections

I know who the major recruiters are in my area, by both functional and sector specialty and I have connections to all of them.

Lessons from adversity

I have reflected on the challenges I’ve encountered along my professional journey and I understand the learning opportunity embedded in each of those challenges.

“Elevator speech”

I have a summary statement about who I am professionally and can distinguish that from what I do.

Skills inventory

I know what I’m good at and am able to comfortably discuss my strengths.

Role models

I know which companies and/or leaders I respect and who I’d like to learn from in the future.


Focus: Build a Valuable Network


I’ve got an active, up-to-date LinkedIn profile. I understand and have evaluated Twitter’s usefulness to my network-building efforts. I am aware of and use the other connection tools common in my professional arena.

Alumni association

I belong to the alumni association from my alma mater and keep my contact information up to date with them.

Professional groups

I am an active member of my professional association.

Lunches/casual meetings

I have a schedule of regular breakfast/lunch/coffee meetings to stay connected with people outside my immediate circle of peers, friends and colleagues.

Introductions and connections

I have clear criteria to use when I receive requests to use my network to assist others.

Responsiveness to requests

I have a standard response time to respond to networking requests, and clear criteria regarding who and how I will respond when I receive requests for my time or connection.

Requests for information or resources

I reach out into my network if I need information or connection to a resource or person.


I have a process for connecting into my network on a regular basis.

Club memberships

I know which local clubs are the best to belong to such that I have the opportunity to meet useful contacts with common interests.

Network management

I know which companies, skill sets, knowledge bases and individuals I want in my network and I have a plan to expand it to include them. I examine my network regularly and have a process for weeding out people who are no longer relevant or desirable.


Focus: Be a Lifelong Learner

Daily news

I read key sections of the newspaper (online or hard copy) and am able to converse on at least a basic level about current events and world issues.


I read on a regular basis.

Target topics

I know what topics I’m interested in and I work to stay current with them.

Current business climate

I stay current with issues related to my organization’s business and industry.

Openness to new ideas

I am open to new ideas, and willing to consider alternate points of view. I can be flexible. I don’t have to be right all the time. I can evaluate even dubious facts critically and without bias. I listen well.

Development plan

I know what my development areas and Achilles’ heels are and have ongoing plans in place to support my growth in these areas.

Continuing education

I engage in formal learning on a regular basis.

Complementary skill sets

I have members of my team and people in my personal circle who are strong in areas where I am less so, and I listen to and respect them for their expertise.

Expert resources

I seek advice from experts to ensure I’m making good decisions and choices where I am not expert. I have a team of experts supporting me, including financial planners, lawyers, accountants, personal trainers and whoever else is relevant to my particular situation. I value advice from good sources.

Mastermind group

I have a group of people with whom I meet regularly to get and give support for our respective business goals. I trust the members of the group and I am open and transparent with them.


Focus: Have Some Fun!


I have interests and/or activities outside of work that energize and inspire me.

Social activities

I get out and have fun with non-work-related people on a regular basis.


I make regular efforts to invest in and sustain the romantic connection with my partner.


I have a list of places I want to visit and vacations I want to take.

Laughter and play

I laugh, and make others laugh, regularly. I get silly sometimes and I know how to play and have fun – even, occasionally, at work.

Show them you love them

The important people in my life know I care about them and I am open to receiving affection and/or kindnesses from those who care about me.

Cross-train your brain

I regularly engage in activities that ensure my brain stays sharp and will remain so as I age.

Try something new

I am willing to broaden my horizons and have tried something new in the last month.


I am occasionally willing to abandon my schedule and do something fun.


My days include, on average, at least three times as many positive events and moments as negative ones.


Focus: Pause and Reflect

Regular practice

I have a regular spiritual or reflective practice.


I am grateful for much in my life, and I take time every day to reflect on that feeling of gratitude.

Daily planning

I take at least five minutes every day to ensure I’m working on the important things.

Weekly planning

I plan my week at its outset and reflect on its outcomes at the end of it.

Monthly or quarterly planning

I step out of my business at least quarterly, if not more frequently, to examine the business AND my personal goals to ensure everything is on track.

Yearly planning

I retreat once a year to reflect on the past year and plan the upcoming year.

Personal history documentation

I have a journal, scrapbook, diary or other repository for mementoes, records and reflections on the important events in my life.

Goal setting

I set goals regularly and have a practice for setting those goals up for success. I have a central repository for my goals and measures, and I have a practice that ensures the information stays current.

Connected conversation

I have several people in my life with whom I can have deep, connected conversations AND I do so on a regular basis.


I recognize when my intuition is engaged and I value and reflect upon the messages it sends me.

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Excerpted with permission from The Complete Executive: The 10-Step System for Great Leadership Performance by Karen Wright (Bibliomotion, 2012)