Maintain focus on your desired outcome
So far this year, we’ve discussed techniques for setting goals and how to communicate these clearly to your team. The next step is to keep focused on achieving your goals. This is possibly the trickiest part of the process.
Setting a goal is exciting. But as life and work take hold it’s easy to lose focus and become distracted from what you’ve set out to achieve. This can cause confusion and uncertainty in your team and potentially cause us to drift.
As a leader you need to take ownership of the outcome and assume responsibility for driving it forward. It takes discipline to maintain your own energy and excitement levels to achieve a goal. It’s natural to have a wobble. Sometimes it helps to think back to the moment when you set your goal:
Do you still feel driven to achieve the outcome you spent time creating and being clear about? If not, what has changed?
What progress have you and your team made towards your goal?
What evidence can you gather and what do the numbers tell you?
Is everyone in the team aligned to work towards the same outcome?
If you are losing focus ask whether the outcome is still the right one for you or whether some adjustment is required. Who or what needs to change in order to help you realign and get back on track?
If you’re on track and focused it’s SO important to ensure your team is heading in the same direction.
Gordon knows best
One of my favourite TV programmes is Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares USA. He takes an under performing restaurant and tries to turn their fortunes around. I love it when the penny drops and the transformation begins!
In a recent episode chefs told the owner that food had been prepared ‘yesterday’. Gordon then found masses of out-of-date (unfit for human consumption) food in the kitchen. The kitchen staff also claimed the food preparation areas were cleaned ‘yesterday’. You didn’t have to be a cleaning expert to see how filthy the kitchen was. The evidence did not support this.
Gordon is an expert in his field. He knows his stuff. Not until he has built trust with team does he take their word for what they have done. It’s very clear that the cleaning and food prepared was not from ‘yesterday’. He makes it clear that covering these things up is not helpful to their business and this is actually a big cause of the business failing. He makes it clear what good looks like and shows that poor performance and laissez-faire attitude is not acceptable. The consequences are horrific, and in some cases life threatening. I wonder if these people even think how their levels of work can have serious implications on their customers’ health and of course their own business!
It’s easy to get carried away with the high level strategic work. Yes, you need to devote time to this. But effective and efficient leaders also keep a close eye on what’s happening behind the scenes. The little details make a huge difference.
Be honest with yourself
As Gordon shows in his programme, gathering evidence is the most efficient way to demonstrate you’re on track. So take a walk around your organisation; speak to your team and your customers. What are they telling you about your progress? What evidence can you find to validate this?
Zest for Life does this by asking for feedback from our clients. Our mission is to inspire leaders and build exceptional organisations. We can only do this by building an exceptional reputation of our own. Monitoring our Net Promoter Score (NPS) helps to ensure we keep on track with what is actually happening with our clients, to deliver our mission.
Since 2010, we’ve maintained an average NPS of 86% for the training we’ve delivered, and a score of 94% for the facilitator’s delivery. This helps us to maintain progress, with the intention of becoming even better.
A great leader supports their team and learns at every opportunity. This is the most effective way to ensure everyone is on track to deliver. Lead by example. Listen, learn and gather evidence with everything you do and say. If you do this there will be little doubt about the outcome you're striving to achieve.