A couple of weeks ago I taught a workshop at a very large hotel and conference center. The room the workshop was held in was located as far away from the lobby as possible. Upon my arrival, it was difficult to find the meeting room the first time. I had to stop and ask two employees for directions. However, after the first day, I became used to the route. Then I hit a roadblock as I walked to the meeting room the second day. The hotel employees had blocked part of my route so they could fix an electrical issue. I was asked to take a different route to my meeting room. The new route was twice as complicated and I encountered several wrong routes before I finally found my meeting room.
Goals, Results, and Leadership
This experience reminded me of a person trying to achieve a goal, but needing some leadership and direction to navigate through obstacles and complications in order to accomplish the goal. A well set goal is a stretch and challenge for the person. In addition to that, most people have to change the way they originally envisioned accomplishing the goal. An even bigger issue, in many organizations, begins before that. Most employees don’t know or don’t fully understand where they want to end up. It is common that individuals don’t know how to create bottom line results or how to play the competitive game of work. In reference to my personal example, managers and leaders can often become the roadblock to goals for two reasons.
First, they fail to help their employees know how to “win” at their job and set the right goals.
Second, they fail to communicate clear expectations or help employees achieve success.
For organizations to play the game of work more effectively, and have better bottom line results, leaders must coach and develop team members to establish stretch goals, then give regular feedback, and finally correct and guide when success is not attained and celebrated when it is.
Being a better leader means helping others get what they need to be the best employee they can be. As leaders, provide resources, share your experiences, and coach for performance improvement whenever you can. Daily is a best practice. Dust off your Leader Development material and help people establish goals and then be sure you are not like the conference center maintenance crew who blocks the entire hallway making the journey to goals harder than they need to be. Creating a game of work mentality in your teams and businesses will help people achieve world class results.
Research on goal setting indicates that teams who set goals can obtain 20 – 25% improved work performance. With some direction, coaching and accountability measures, you and those you lead will reach unbelievable heights. The next time you have the opportunity to lead others in setting goals, use the SMART Goal principle (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, and Time Bound) to ensure the goal is worded in a way to maximize power and effectiveness.
Personal accountability to results will make a significant difference in the organization’s performance. But how does a leader instill accountability or keep score? Metrics and measurements is the answer. These tracking tools are a vital part of a results focused culture. Leaders must encourage their reports to ask themselves “What are the two most important results for which I am paid?” Instill that if they produce those results, they and the business win, but if not, they and the business lose. Metrics and measurements often require innovation and “thinking outside of the box.” The main guideline is to create a tool that defines responsibility and establishes accountability.
Driving Bottom Line Results
Being a better leader means helping others be the best employee they can be. In addition to goals and results, this applies to all realms of performance. As a leader, it is vital to share your experiences, provide resources, and coach for performance improvement whenever you can. Creating a “game of work” mentality in your teams and businesses will help people achieve world class results.