As a leader, one of your primary functions is to define the strategic direction of the company (what you are going to accomplish). The designing of how that result is going to happen is not your job as a leader, as this is the responsibility of your team. This is how you simply and sustainably generate buy-in as they create the action plan. You don’t just turn them loose to do this as you’ll need to ensure that the plan they create has the highest likelihood of achieving the desired outcome while also honoring your culture and values. So, you’ll be coaching your team through a four-step process:
1. Assess the current status and the desired end results
Accomplishment of any goal starts with honestly assessing current benchmarks, where you want them to be (the goals), and by when. With these beginning and end points in mind, along with a clear timeline for completion, creating a plan of action is easier to generate and implement.
2. Create a step-by-step roadmap
With clarity on the starting and ending points, charting a course is straightforward, just like planning a trip from one destination to another. You can guide your team backwards from the achievement of the desired strategic outcome or forward towards the goals in a step-by-step process. It’s a simple conversation of, “What will you do next? And what about after that? And after that?” If you start at the end and work backwards you’ll ask, “What will need to happen to generate that outcome? And what must happen before that? And before that?”
3. Plan daily and weekly actions
Since the achievement of long-term goals happens over a period of time, the steps of the roadmap must be distilled down into manageable quantities of work. Your next step in coaching is to guide everyone in planning daily and weekly measurable actions. This way, you’ll both know if they are on track, ahead, or behind, and be able to make adjustments, accordingly.
4. Follow-up for progress
Coaching without commitment is just another conversation, so this final step in action planning is to ensure that accountabilities are met, adjustments are made, as needed, and support is provided along the way. Weekly one-on-ones are an ideal way to do this.
A director of a regional staffing firm headquartered in New Jersey recently implemented this approach and is finding that productivity is much higher as a result. “Everyone is clear on where we are going, what’s expected, and how we are going to achieve our goals. Our branch managers and employees are all on the same page, and both new and tenured employees are making faster progress than we have in the past.”
This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Pick a project and use the four-step process. This could be as small as something that will take a few days or as large as a year-end goal.
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