A clearly communicated strategy is, itself, a commitment to being more productive. All those resources, i.e. people, rowing in the same direction because everyone knows where the boat is headed maximizes efficiencies.
Underpinning this are the specific short-term goals that, once achieved, will drive the organization toward its overall strategy. It is important, as the leader, to ensure the goals are realistic, and the definitions are clear.
Minimize duplication of effort by:
- Understanding the unique strengths of each team member and individual departments
- Clearly setting expectations with them
- Getting out of the way
But beware of abdication! Conduct WGO (what’s going on) meetings focused on strategic goals, not crises of the moment.
Once what needs to be accomplished has been established; and you have determined who will be responsible for the various elements of the strategy, your role as the leader is to coach team members to success.
- What are they doing that’s working? Ensure you let them know in order to reinforce productive behaviours.
- Where is the underperformance? Best to assess first if it is a process, rather than a people issue. According to Ken Blanchard, when leaders and employees are each asked to list the top 5 priorities for that employee, there is only about a 20% match! So, 80% of the time, a disconnect exists between what the leader is expecting and what the employee is doing.
Measure whether productivity is improving or declining. Clear key performance indicators (KPIs) are imperative. Sharing them appropriately helps everyone to understand how we are doing. If there are gaps, establish remediation plans that address those factors getting in the way of productivity. Be sure to celebrate the successes.
In the short term, good strategy is often deciding what not to do. It pays to determine if there are activities consuming your finite resources to the detriment of your strategic priorities. You can improve your productivity by jettisoning those that are hindering your progress.
A productive leader sets clear goals, and then looks both outward and inward to ensure those goals are being achieved.
July 1, 2019
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