Leadership model sneak peek
Enjoy this sneak peek from chapter 1 of Be More Strategic in Business, and don't forget to pre-order your copy so you have it in your hands on August 15th!
Creating a winning organization requires strong, strategic leadership. Based on our experiences, both in and out of corporate L&D, we’ve developed a leadership model that is a microcosm of the six factors for strategic leadership you’ll read about later in this book, and it will help you begin to think about the way winning organizations operate.
1. Align with a motivating vision that’s grounded in expectations.
Defining an inspirational vision is the critical first step in providing your team with the direction and motivation to achieve success. A sound vision provides everyone with a clear line of sight to the strategic win. This vision needs to be grounded in the definition of success for your company and business—based on customer and stakeholder expectations. We’ll talk more about how to identify the company’s strategy and success measures, as well as how to craft your vision, in later chapters. But as you define success, be sure to include what satisfaction looks like for your employees, customers, and shareholders (if applicable). Your vision should be a motivating statement—one that’s tied to stakeholders and is a stretch for the organization. Everyone on the team should be able to relate to it, repeat it, confidently and enthusiastically explain it, and more importantly, live it! In fact, the vision statement should be incorporated into your daily language and interactions with others outside of the organization.
2. Define goals and strategies as a road map to success.
Once you’ve crafted a motivating vision, define the key goals and strategies needed to bring your vision to life. These become the roadmap to your destination. Identify the critical actions that must be executed to move you along the right path. Leaders and team members should focus on actions that will have the greatest impact on desired results.
3. Have the right players in the right roles.
To have the right players in the right roles, you start by hiring the right people. Staff for success by keeping your standards high and hiring the best. They don’t necessarily have all the technical knowledge or fancy credentials, but the right disposition. Look for people who have the right attitude, willingness to be team members, and a desire to learn. Do they reflect the vision and mission for your organization? Are they the role models you want? Will they relate to the work and stick around to see the results? It’s not only much easier to accomplish your goals when you have strong players, it’s downright impossible to accomplish them with weak players. Don’t waste time and effort trying to improve the people who may be strong performers but don’t have the right attitude or lack the willingness to learn. No matter how much time you sink into them, you can’t force them to truly care about the job at hand or be a team player. Find the right fit for your team. Recruit, hire, train, and develop team players who have the ability and passion to bring your vision to life.
4. Create the best work environment so everyone thrives; celebrate success!
Create an environment that allows people to not only do good work, but to thrive as they’re doing it. Ensure workload is broken down into manageable chunks, and then match tasks and projects to the skills of each individual so they can accomplish their best work. People do their best work when they feel comfortable bringing their whole selves (mind, body, and spirit) to work. Take the time to get to know what motivates your team—what jazzes them. Most people have the sense that they work for a person, not for the company, so stay connected with them as individuals. Recognizing and celebrating successes is a strong motivator to keep team members productive and engaged. If you celebrate what you want to see more of, you’ll get it! Ask yourself: “Would you want to report to or work with you?” What’s good about reporting to you? What could be better?
5. Plan, Do, Study, Act.
Winning leaders have a plan. They execute that plan. They learn what was revealed during the plan’s execution, and then they act to make the informed change. Several later chapters will provide in-depth guidance to help you with strategic planning, execution, decision-making, and continual improvement.
6. Measure functional success and focus on continuous improvement.
Item one entailed defining your vision of success. But to know if you’re on track along the way—and if/when you achieve success—you need to measure your progress. Establishing regular check-in routines will give you and the team the opportunity to recognize and celebrate progress, which creates energy to keep going forward or make needed course corrections at the right times. These routines also provide the ideal opportunity for feedback—a tremendous gift when given and received in honesty and openness. Set ever higher goals to continually improve the business and to keep your stakeholders delighted.