There is an enormous difference between leaders who can deliver and leaders who can only hope someone else will deliver for them. Leaders who can deliver do not carry the task by themselves, but they know how to recognise, recruit and retain achievers, and importantly they know how to create a clear runway so their team can work at their best with the best. These are the leaders you want in your business at every level.
Active Knowledge Questions:
Do you know what it takes to create a clear runway, so projects and goals are delivered and achieved? Is it in the businesses and your DNA, a process that underpins delivery and success?
I’ve Never Failed
Worthy leaders own failure and attribute success to others. This is a founding principle of success and should be your litmus test of whether the leaders you appoint are worthy of the responsibility.
I know we have all been present in meetings of leaders where someone has stepped forward and claimed success for an outcome delivered by another. And when it comes to failure, there is either silence or attribution of blame to someone else. This culture can permeate an organisation like a highly contagious virus and become accepted and expected. If you are serious about building a great business, being a worthy leader, then any inkling of these traits must be challenged and eradicated. And in doing so, you will face opposition as self-interest at the leadership level is prevalent in many organisations.
Credit should be given, acknowledged and celebrated to the people who did the work to achieve the outcome. And it should be the leaders who supported them in this outcome who are singing the praise of this team, and its individuals, the loudest.
A leader’s success lies in being able to bring the team together, support them in their journey, clear all roadblocks and allow them to bring their combined best to the forefront. Always remember the core competitive strength of any business lies in the combined talent and effort of everyone who works in and with a business. A leader’s task is to allow the full potential and strength of that core to be ever-present and compounding.
Part One of ‘A Leader Who Can Deliver’ considered what worthy leaders look like.
There is an outcome that must be achieved in delivering on any project or goal, and that is best expressed as momentum.
What does momentum look like? Well, I see it as a strength, a force, that is gained through motion – a continuing movement forward towards the outcome sought. It cannot be gained through starts and stops, or a lack of focus.
It also has to be strategic in its action and not just movement (noise) for appearance sakes. It must be intelligent and purposeful movement, and l think importantly compounding movement. To compound means you are always building upon what has gone before, nothing is waste and momentum builds. Momentum creates the domino effect so as the project proceeds it becomes stronger and stronger until its success is unstoppable.
If your business, projects or goals do not have momentum, then entropy will set in, and stagnation and decline will naturally follow. But when a business has momentum as described above, it is clear on where it is heading and how it intends to get there but will adapt and change to reach its goals without hesitation or delay.
Your ‘go-to’ process for project delivery/goal achievement must be one that seeds and sustains momentum and draws everyone’s best to the forefront.
An Approach To Getting Things Done
Seeding momentum in your business commences with the establishment of a process for the achievement of any goal – no matter how large or small. The process becomes a habit that then becomes embedded in the culture of your business and grows to become a strategic strength.
As with any change, it is the commitment of leadership that will allow strategic momentum to take hold. Worthy leadership is a must for momentum to be established.
There are eight key steps that your process should include:
- Build Common Ground
There must be a shared compelling reason for the goal being pursued and the benefit that will flow from it once it is achieved. If you are unable to identify the shared compelling reasons that will arise, then it is unlikely that you will be able to muster the business’s commitment to achieving the goal. Further, if there is no shared compelling reason, then it is also unlikely that the goal is aligned with your purpose and vision.
- Check The Depth
You must have regard to the depth of change you are seeking and match the energy and resources accordingly. Be conscious and describe the impact that the goal will have on each process, policy, reward, functional area etc. within your business. Make sure you fully appreciate the changes and challenges that will be faced in achieving the goal and provide upfront more than adequate resources and support to your team.
- Map The Stepping-Stones
You must establish in advance the clear steps required to reach the final goal. Take one step at a time as this enables progressive wins to be achieved, from which reward and recognition will follow. This ensures energy, passion, and enthusiasm are maintained over the life of a project. It facilitates re-signalling and a clear, purposeful focus on each step, whilst keeping the end goal in view.
It is also essential that a ‘no-fault parachute’ be provided to every project team. Strategy is emergent, and although business intent and purpose may not have changed, the course to be taken to achieve it may have altered due to changing conditions. You do not want to create a set of circumstances where a project that is no longer viable continues because the team overseeing it is not given any other options.
- Signal And Energise
Commence the project with an official launch so that everyone knows the race has started. This will maximise focus, energy and drive. You want to generate enthusiasm, a rush so that the project kicks off with energy to see it through and beyond its initial barriers. Revisit and re-energise the project team throughout the life of the project. The greater the challenge of the goal, the more energy you need to generate within the team.
- Rapid Decision-Making
Prior to commencing the project, set up procedures and policies that facilitate rapid decision-making. You do not want to lose the momentum behind a project to pause and await factors such as the next board meeting, someone to return from leave, approval of funding, a licensing process etc. Plot and monitor your project’s critical path and ensure all approvals are obtained well in advance.
- Target Early Adopters
You must assemble your project team carefully and seek the support of those who want to participate and see it succeed. Don’t burden the team with individuals who are not interested in the project or whose participation is one of self-interest. Select team members on character, competency, capability and passion, and empower them to succeed.
- Remove Resistance
You must look ahead and identify well in advance any barriers to achievement and work to remove them. In checking the depth, putting the stepping-stones in place, ensuring rapid decision-making and assembling your team, be alert for and conscious of barriers and resistance that will impede the achievement of goals. Once identified, remove them if possible, quarantine them if necessary, or go around them if you have no other choice. Do not ignore them and leave them in place for the project team to deal with.
- Recharge And Refocus
Don’t set and forget a project. You must always pause, check the direction and continuously support your teams in their pursuit of goals. As a business leader, you must align, motivate, and inspire. Ensure nothing stands in their way to success. At the completion of each stepping-stone, you should re-energise. It is also a perfect opportunity to ensure ‘parachutes’ are still in place and ready for use, if necessary.
These eight steps represent a process, and each step must be undertaken before the project is launched and revisited and reinforced throughout the process. The completion of each stepping-stone is a great point to revisit this goal achievement process for a project. And if you find stepping-stones are not being delivered then revisit this process and ask, what is being missed that is slowing us down. The process will reveal the answer.
Leadership is about delivery. If you are unable to guide your business or team forward to the outcome sought, then you’re really not leading. It starts with the right people with the right motive, attitude and traits. You cannot move past ‘go’ until those people are in place. And then it all becomes about the process, but the process is not bureaucracy.
The process of goal achievement is about removing bureaucracy so the right people can invest themselves with trust in the task of delivering. And with a knowledge that the efforts in achieving success will be affirmed and celebrated openly and honestly. In this lies the heart of a leader who can deliver.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,