The ultimate measure of a senior leadership team’s success is the organization’s results. And yet some companies, due to favourable market conditions, do quite well in spite of their dysfunctional leadership teams. Imagine what could happen if the team at the top could get its act together. Is your leadership team effective? Evaluate them on these nine attributes.
- A meaningful purpose: They have a clear and compelling reason to work together. Executive team members are each responsible for a specific company function. One could argue the CEO should be the glue that coordinates the activities, but everyone’s primary concern should be their area of responsibility. In high-performance teams, a commitment to the team’s purpose should be at least as important as the commitment to the purpose for the area each member leads.
- Shared goals: The team needs to focus on a set of outcomes that all members are committed to achieving and that require contribution by everyone. If it’s truly a team goal, everyone will feel equally responsible for its achievement. These are not necessarily the same as the company’s goals.
- The right mix: Team members have complementary skills, experiences, and styles necessary for fulfilling the necessary roles and responsibilities. People know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and aversions. They use this knowledge to create synergy. Members see the value of each person’s presence on the team. There’s a sense of equality among all the players.
- Strong interpersonal relationships: People can be themselves because they genuinely like each other and will do what they can to look out for and support their team-mates. Members trust each other and are trustworthy. The cohesiveness of the team is obvious to people outside the group.
- Helpful operating principles: These agreed upon ways of working together might include a shared set of values, processes for making decisions, ways of communicating within the team and to other employees, and tracking activities.
- Problem solving: The team recognizes when a problem exists, analyzes it, identifies alternatives, and works through conflicts. Once the decision is made, everyone commits to supporting it. Often this is best demonstrated by someone’s willingness to raise a thorny issue in the first place and in the members’ willingness to fully engage in finding a resolution to the problem.
- High levels of candour: People say what needs saying in a direct and respectful manner. Members are receptive to hearing tough messages without becoming defensive. Heated discussions are viewed not as a problem but rather as a positive activity as long as the discussion stays focused on issues or behaviours rather than on personalities.
- Mutual accountability: Members hold themselves and others to the commitments they have made. While the CEO often has the primary responsibility for holding employees accountable for keeping their promises, each person shares in this activity.
- Measuring the important: Effective teams track those things that are most important to their success— progress on key initiatives, performance results, or even behaviours expected of each other and take action when things are not meeting expectations. Carve out time at your next executive off-site meeting to discuss the effectiveness of the team and determine how to strengthen its performance.
In efforts to improve, most companies and individuals search for new idea and strategies. They seek out new marketing techniques, sales ideas, cost-cutting measures, and customer service enhancements, that these approaches will deliver better results.
However, the number one factor preventing individuals and entire companies from achieving what they are truly capable of is not a lack of knowledge, intellect, or information; it’s not some new strategy or idea; it’s not additional training; it’s not a large network of connected people; it’s not hard work, natural talent, or luck. All these do help, all play a part but they are not the things that make the difference.
You’ve heard the saying that knowledge is power . knowledge is only powerful if you use it, if you act on it. it benefits no one unless the person acquiring the knowledge does some thing with it. Great ideas are worthless unless they are implemented. The market place rewards only those ideas that get implemented. You can be smart; you can have access to lots of information and great ideas; you can be well-connected, work hard, and have lots of natural talent, but in the end, you have to execute.
The barrier standing between you and the lift you are capable of living is a lack of consistent execution. Effective execution will set you free; it is the path to accomplish the things you desire.
The Twelve Week Year
One thing that gets in the way of individuals and organizations effectively executing and achieving their best is the annual planning process. As strange as this may sound, annual goals and plans are often a barrier to high performance. This doesn’t mean annual goals and plans don’t have a positive impact. They do. There is no question you will do better with annual goals you will do better with annual goals and plans than without . However, this annual process inherently limits performance.
The trap is annualized thinking, at the heart of which is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. In January, December looks a long way off, because we mistakenly believe that there is plenty of time in the year, we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly.
Forget about a “year”, because we’re redefining it. A year is now a 12 weeks. That’s right: A year is now a 12 week period. There are no longer four periods in a year: That’s old thinking. Now, there is just a 12-week year, followed by the next 12-week year, ad infinitum. Each 12-week period stands on its own: it is your year.
Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies and successful individuals execute better that their competition.
The 12 Week Year creates a new endgame date, the point at which you assess your success (or lack thereof). It narrows your focus to the week and, more to the point, the day, which is when execution occurs. The 12 Week Year brings that reality front and centre. When you set your goals in the context of a 12-week year, you no longer have the luxury of putting off critical activities, thinking to yourself that there is plenty of time left in the year. Once 12 weeks becomes your year, then each week matters: each day matters: each moment matters.
The result is profound. Most people experience about a %30 improvement in goal achievement in their first 12 weeks when operating on the 12 Week Year platform. To achieve more in the next 12 seeks than most will in 12 months, simply follow these steps.
1. Set a 12-week goal
Start by establishing a 12-week goal. Annual goals are helpful but lack immediacy and urgency, whereas 12-week goals create focus and urgency.
Focus on what you want to make happen over the next 12-weeks. The goal should be an outcome-income, sales production, dollars saved, pounds lost-and represent significant progress towards your longer-term vision. Limit your goals to a maximum of three, and make certain each goal is specific and measurable.
2. Build a 12-week plan
12-week planning is much more effective than traditional planning because it is more predictable and focused. The key is less more. A 12-week plan embraces the notion “Let’s be great at a few things versus mediocre at many”.
For each goal, you need to identify tactics, the daily and weekly actions that drive its accomplishment. If the goal is the “where” then the tactics are the “how”. Again, less is more. Focus on the critical few. Identify the four or five actions you need to take daily and weekly to accomplish your goal. Those are your tactics.
3. Apply the weekly routine
Having a goal and a plan is helpful, but it’s not enough . The key to your success is executing your plan. To ensure you execute at a high level, adopt the weekly routine. If you do the following three things on a weekly basis you can’t help but get better.
Plan your week
Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to plan your week. Use your 12-week plan to identify the tactics that are due this particular week. The weekly plan is not a glorified to-do list: rather, it reflects the critical strategic activity that needs to take place this week to achieve your 12-week goals.
Save your week
At the end of each week. score your execution. In the end, you have greater control over your actions than your outcomes. The most effective lead indicator you have is a measure of your execution. Your are scoring your execution, not your results. Calculate a weekly execution score by dividing the number of tactics completed by the number due.
Meet with a peer group
You are seven times more likely to be successful if you meet regularly with a group of your peers. Find two to three other people who are committed and willing to meet for 15 to 20 minutes each week. In your meeting, report on how you’re doing against your goals and how well you’re executing. Encourage and challenge one another.
That’s it-three simple steps. Plan your week, score your week, meet with a group of peers. How easy is that? Do them and you will improve-guaranteed. Here’s the catch: The steps are easy to do, and even easier not to do. Do make a commitment to engage with them for the next 12 weeks and watch what happens.
Most people want to progress in their work, and moving into management is a natural way of doing so. Some step into the new role and prosper. However, many struggle and become disillusioned, possibly stressed, and their performance dips: They’ve made the common mistakes of new managers. Here is how you can avoid making these mistakes.
MISTAKE 1: Not getting clarity on your role
Most people get a job description and may even have a quick chat with their new boss. Few, however take the time to get charity on their role. what the expectations are, and what key results are to be achieved.
SOLUTION: Make an appointment with your boos to be crystal clear on what they expect of you and what you should deliver to be successful in your new position.
MISTAKE 2: Holding onto old tasks
If you have been promoted internally within the same organization, this is a challenge. You may have been very good at certain tasks and really enjoyed some of them.
Be crystal clear on what your boss expects of you and what you should deliver to be successful in your new position.
SOLUTION: If these are not tasks on which your performance as a manager will be judged, pass them on to someone else.
MISTAKE 3: Trying to please everyone
As a manager, you have to make decisions: Some will be popular with everyone, some will be popular with some and unpopular with others, and some will be unpopular with everyone. Accept that your decisions will not be popular with everyone.
SOLUTION: Take what you believe is the right decision based on the facts and information available, not the one that will please everyone.
MISTAKE 4: Not Believing in yourself
We all have our doubts about our skills, knowledge, experience, and personal attributes, but we can choose whether we use them as an opportunity to shrink or grow. When people take up a role as a manager, self-doubt can get in the way of their success.
SOLUTION: Recognize that opportunities to grow always exist, and remember that those who appointed you believe in you, and so should you.
MISTAKE 5: Going for a home fun too quickly
You will probably want to make an impact as soon as you can. You may have had some thoughts or ideas about what you would do and how you would be different when you became a manager. It is easy to fall into the trap of going for a home run too quickly.
SOLUTION: Take it a step at a time. Make small change. As you achieve success, raise the bar and be more adventurous.
When people take up a role as a manager, self-doubt can get in the way of their success.
Someone see your potential to be a great manager. To become one, make sure to avoid making the common mistakes of new managers.
For most people, emotional intelligence is more important then one’s intelligence to attain success in their lives and careers. As individuals, our success depends on our ability to read other people ‘s signals and react appropriately to them. Therefore, each one of us must develop the mature emotional intelligence skills required to better understand, empathize, and negotiate with other people, particularly in our global economy. Otherwise, success will elude us in our lives and careers.
“Your EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work co-operatively with them,” says Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist.
UNDERSTANDING THE FIVE CATEGORIES OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The ability to recognize an emotion as it happens is the key to your EQ Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to your true feelings. If you evaluate your emotions, you can manage them. The major elements of self-awareness are:
- Emotional awareness: your ability to recognize your own emotions and their effects
- Self-confidence: sureness about your self-worth and capabilities
You often have little control over when you experience emotions. You can, however, have some say in how long an emotion will last by using a number of techniques to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, or depression, often recasting a situation in a more positive light. Self-regulation involves:
- Self-control: managing disruptive impulse
- Trustworthiness: maintaining standards of honestly and integrity
- Conscientiousness: taking responsibility for your own performance
- Adaptability: handling change with flexibility.
- Innovation: being open to new ideas
To motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and a positive attitude. Although you may be predisposed to be negative, you can with effort and practice, learn to think more positively. If you catch negative thoughts as they occur, you can re-frame them in more positive terms, which will help you achieve your goals. Motivation is made up of:
- Achievement drive: your constant striving to improve or to meet a standard of excellence
- Commitment: aligning with the goals of the group or organization
- Initiative: readying yourself to act on opportunities
- Optimism: pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks
The ability to recognize how people feel is important to success in your life and career. The more skilled you are at discerning the feelings behind other’s signals, the better you can control the signals you send them. An empathetic person excels at:
- Service orientation: anticipating, recognizing, and meeting client’s needs
- Developing others: sensing what others need to progress and bolstering their abilities
- Leveraging diversity: cultivating opportunities through diverse people
- Political awareness: reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships
- Understanding others: discerning the feelings behind the needs and wants of others
5. Social skills
Developing good interpersonal skills is crucial to success in your life and career. In today’s cyber culture, you can have immediate access to technical knowledge. Therefore, you must possess a high EQ to better understand, empathize, and negotiate with others in the global economy. Among the most useful skills are:
- Influence: wielding effective persuasion tactics
- Communication: sending clear messages
- Leadership: inspiring and guiding groups and people
- Change catalysis: initiating or managing change
- Conflict management ability: understanding, negotiating and resolving disagreements
- Ability to build bonds: nurturing instrumental relationships
- Collaboration and co-operation: working with others toward shared goals
- Team building: creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals
How well you do in your life and career is determined by both IQ and EQ. IQ alone is not enough; EQ also matters. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else-including EQ. A study of Harvard graduates in business, law, medicine, and teaching showed a negative or zero correlation between an IQ indicator (entrance exam score) and subsequent career success.