Even if we’ve not said it, we’ve all led team members, staff, or even volunteers, to which we’ve wanted to say just get it together. And the IT varies. Sometimes it’s their schedule or ability to follow it. Sometimes it’s their job and their seeming disinterest in doing it. Sometimes it’s just the general concept best described by the stuff that piles up behind farm animals. Whatever IT is, you wish they’d get it together. However, more times about which most leaders would care to know, they want us to get to get our stuff together, too. So how do you do it? How do you assemble all the intel, product and people data, needs of the business, and direction of your company into some semblance of a reasonable plan other people will follow? That, my friend, is the key question on the minds of many of our recent leader coaching clients. And there’s a lot to bring together. Over the last ten months, our Monday Moments have focused on specific facets of how to become a better leader. In the remaining months of this year, the goal is to go bigger, be bigger picture, and take all that you’ve learned and realized and put it into action. It’s time to get it together and to make that plan so that your next season, quarter, year, and you, are even better than you imagined.
Pick a Point
Picking your point is an important first step and foundation. What is the point of your day, week, month, quarter, or year? Call it a theme or simply a prime directive, pick one and allow it to be your focus. Those you lead want you to get it together just as much as you wish they would keep it together and keep going so give them what they need you to do to lead. Answer the questions of “Where are we going?” “When would we like to get there?” “What’s it going to take?” and How fast do we need to be going?” Different from a goal, your point helps you stay on point. Pun intended. Your point helps you focus, serves as a central theme of your activities, and keeps you and those you lead feeling purposeful. After today’s Monday Moment, pick a point, as if on a map. Determine what you wish to be, or do, or experience at the end of the next period on which you’re focused and then follow these remaining four steps to add meat to what is currently just a wish.
You may find you have multiple points. It may even be that your boss has given you multiple goals, projects or objectives. Cull through them and determine your most coveted priorities. Yes, they may all have value and all need to get done or show progress, but every single project, person, or need cannot be an A priority. It’s simply not feasible if you plan to actually get anything accomplished. Yes, it’s tempting to rate them all a one or put them at the top, but it’s not realistic and forcing such a system will leave you rather pessimistic. Lead the effort of actual accomplishment and the pursuit of real results by taking the action to pick selective priorities you wish to see to completion, or at least progress. Consider your primary point you’re about to pick. In that area, then pick no more than six priority subsets on which to focus. Base these priorities on the skills and size of the team you have the privilege of leading. Maybe even engage them in the process of culling out many competing priorities or interests. You have a point and main theme and now you have a short list of priorities to determine what item receives your greatest time investment. Your plan could begin to look like this: Our point for Q1 2019 is to develop the soft skills of our managers. Our priorities are to 1)Assess their greatest skill set deficiencies, 2) Determine internal training options available, 3) Explore creating a mentor program, 4) Find one external training course or program for each development need, 5) Create a way to show ROI to senior leadership and for budget expenditure.
If you’ve begun to create your own plan to show that you do, indeed, have it together, then the next step is to release the need to do all of this yourself. Who is doing what? Who will explore? Who will assess? Who will take on the role of helping you find the ROI? If you choose the route of engaging the team in this process and if the team is one that will successfully contribute in this area, then right here, right now, or at least at the time that you make your plan, assign action. Who is going to do what and by when? Plug the meetings or actions into the calendar NOW. You can also, and should always be able to, make changes later, but having dates and action assignments gives credibility to your plan. Now it’s ready for action and is not just a document passed around via email that people talk about in concept. Assigning action will also help with accountability and continued engagement, also known as them giving a rip about what you’d like to see accomplished.
Those who are driven and compelled toward results and action, will be tempted to make planning a one and done experience. It isn’t. Revisit regularly what you’ve done, not done, or need to tweak or do different. Revisit what has been accomplished and schedule those regular revisitation meetings now, much like you will have done with your action items. Few team members will work less effectively with a deadline and most will drive toward the deadline you provide, even completing tasks the day before or wee hours of night before the morning meeting. Something about deadlines gets people moving and remember soon or next week are rarely specific enough designations to provide the same type of motivation.
And just like that, you will feel as if, appear as if, and really and truly HAVE it all together. With five short actions to be taken you will have gotten it together, possibly even engaged your team in the process and built a powerful foundation for progress. Don’t put this off or put it down and don’t feel like you must become a planning maven to make it all happen. Five short steps is all it takes to add just a bit of structure to all those improvements, increases, and results you’d like to make happen. You’ve got this and you’re on your way to becoming and being one incredible leader!
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week and of course, stay Contagious!
Monica Wofford, CSP develops leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm designs and delivers leadership training for those managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.