Confidence in our organizations requires three elements:
- We believe our organization has a sound plan to accomplish its goals
- There is clear communication about both the goals and the plan to achieve them
- A way exists to measure progress toward the goals
It sounds so simple but all too often we miss the mark. The more we fail to achieve our goals, the less confidence our team has in our ability to set and achieve goals. However, the opposite is also true: set and achieve goals consistently and we increase confidence in our ability.
One way to gain confidence in strategy is to start modestly. Setting unrealistic goals is cited as a common reason strategic plans fail. Building confidence by setting and achieving smaller goals provides two-for-one value: you achieve real goals that move you closer to your overall strategy and you create an environment where people feel energized by success. As a consequence, employees are encouraged to work together and stretch to set even bigger goals – confidence increases.
How do the leaders of the organization inspire confidence? Do leaders allow for a culture of empowerment where employees have both the authority and the opportunity to exercise it? Strategy can be scaled up by empowering people throughout the organization; delegating responsibility for objectives; and by getting out of the way.
Strategic goal creation, delegation of responsibility, and confidence building are not developed along one linear path but are compound initiatives: multiple objectives can be underway simultaneously resulting in confidence building across teams.
In organizations with many employees, each individual might be at a different point in the confidence/execution continuum. It is important to understand this and track progress effectively. This allows for course corrections as required, recognition, and celebration to reinforce confidence whenever appropriate. Leaders require hard and soft skills that can be deployed to benefit the individual, the team, or the entire organization.
Progressive organizations undertake capacity-building strategies to increase employee confidence in their abilities. They seek to build a culture where employees feel safe to take risks that will benefit the organization. Commit to being a confidence-building business and reap the benefits that result.