Is your organization one where top talent goes to die? Have you been successful in finding and hiring great people in your organization and then wonder “where they went” once they started working? I’ve actually had clients admit that their company was the place where great talent goes to die. But, they couldn’t figure out why especially since they already had great talent who were supportive of the company’s mission & purpose.
It may be helpful to understand, or at least review, part of the mind-set of top-performers. In part, they need to know what success looks like and when they’ll actually reach that place.
Top-performers also need to be challenged. They won’t be content being contained in a box being told what to do. They’ll shut down and eventually leave for another opportunity that challenges them and where they can grow both professionally and personally.
In this situation, the team wanted and needed to be part of building the strategy to company’s road to success. They weren’t content with this task falling solely in the hands of the leader.
More importantly, the team needed to know that once they developed a strategy for success that the leader was going to buy into it.
Did you catch that?
The team needed to know that the leader bought into the strategy developed by the team instead of undermining it because, for example, it wasn’t the leader’s idea or the leader doubted the expertise and experience of the team.
The organization already had awesome talent that rivaled any in the industry. Now, that talent needed the support of the leader to let them do what they were hired to do.
Some leaders need to learn to let the team they hired do their job. It may be the missing link to an organization’s success. This may be a growth edge and easier said than done for many leaders.
If you’re a leader facing this challenge, I’d encourage you to step off your island and seek the objective input of others to hold you accountable in making this (or other) change. Whether it’s an executive/business coach, peer group or a swami of your choosing, taking that journey with someone far better ensures success and sustainability than going it alone.
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Defining success provides direction to everyone inside and outside of your organization. Whether it’s outperforming a specific competitor, capturing a percentage of market share, achieving an industry award or credential, being the best at what you do, etc., defining success gives your team a framework within which they function. By clear, consistent and frequent communication, there is little question among your team, and others, about where your organization is headed. Here are 6 or 7 ways in which defining your organization’s success aids in achieving it and making it stick:
Inspire engagement When success is clearly defined, it provides a platform upon which leaders can tell their story. “Storytelling” is one of the current buzz words in business and there is plenty of research to back its effectiveness. Data and statistics engage the language centers of our brain. But, when numbers are fleshed out with a story multiple areas of our brain are engaged, including the sections responsible for emotion thus making the message more memorable and “sticky” for the audience. Whether your audience is comprised of your employees, customers or investors a “sticky story” keeps it in the minds of your audience and increases their engagement. With so many messages competing for our brains’ attention these days it helps to stand out.
Increased Productivity Defining success provides a framework from which people can make decisions and execute. The answer to the question, “Is this choice beneficial to our clients/organization/team, etc.?” becomes much easier to answer. People no longer flounder with decisions when the desired outcome is clearly communicated. Your team feels empowered to make clear decisions void of being micromanaged. As a result, efficiency, productivity and morale improve.
Attract & Vet Top Talent Your organization’s definition of success lends itself nicely to a great interview to determine if candidates are a good fit for your organization. Just because someone has “mad skillz” doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to play a role in your success. But, when success is defined then questions can be asked in determining if a candidate has what it takes to play a role in achieving your organization’s specific and unique definition of success. Is this goal important and inspiring to them and why? What role would they play in getting your organization to the Promised Land and how would they do it? The interview becomes much more rich and informative than a stale and unidimensional “yes or no” Q&A session.
Retain Top Talent One of the distinguishing characteristics of top-talent is that they need to know when they’re successful. They require goals and a clear direction on how to get there. When success is clearly defined in your organization, not only should this be used as part of the interview process, but it becomes a measure against which A-Players can gage their own success. High-achievers are more likely to be drawn to and remain with an organization in which they are or can become successful.
Attract Allies When leaders do the work in defining and communicating the vision of organizational success and the accompanying story, that story can be retold resulting in engagement of all sorts of resources for success - - customers tell more customers, great employees recruit more great employees, investors become interested, organizations offering complimenting products and services refer business, etc.. People can clearly understand and communicate to others what it is your organization does, increasing exposure and your success.
Critical components to success are to clearly define and communicate it. Taking the time to do so shifts the bulk of heavy lifting off the shoulders of leaders and engages many others in promoting and working toward that success. (Is that a 7th reason?)
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This article discusses, what I refer to as, the 3rd component of your organization’s “Navigation System” - - the overarching organizational goal. Here are 11 reasons why defining your organization’s overarching goal is important:
Establishing a goal for your organization let’s everyone inside and outside of your organization know where you’re going. Whether the goal is tied to capturing market share, outperforming a competitor, a specific award or yet another metric your team becomes clear about what they need to do and why.
In my experience, when you have “the right team” they will often up the ante. As the leader of your organization you may set, what you believe to be, a goal that is challenging and maybe even a stretch. When your team is passionate about your cause, they will often consider, be interested in and challenge you to set a goal that is even more challenging. What’s even more exciting is that your team takes ownership of that goal and develops an innovative strategy to reach it. That’s often what happens when your team embraces your cause because it’s part of who they are.
Your overarching goal not only lets everyone know where you’re going as an organization, it also provides another piece of your organization’s framework within which decisions can be made. Again, decisions may not be easy, but they do become more clear.
An overarching goal is also a tool you can use to empower your team to act in your absence and reduce the tendency to micromanage. When your team understands where your organization is headed they are more apt to make decisions in keeping with your, and your organization’s goals.
An overarching goal also becomes part of your interview process for top talent. Part of what makes these people tick and keeps them engaged is knowing what success looks like in your organization. It’s from your overarching goal that most other metrics are derived. Again, your team becomes clear about what’s important and where to invest their time and focus. Hence, performance reviews also become a lot easier for all involved. And, discussions in a performance review are rarely a surprise to your team members since they’ll likely have a fairly accurate sense of their performance relative to established metrics.
You may also often find that once people outside your organization learn & understand your overarching goal, they’ll help you reach your goal and maybe do so in ways you may not have thought of. You make it easy for your vendors, clients, alliances, etc. to participate in your goal. You help them help you become better positioned for success. And, a great team comprised of top talent responds to success and is more apt to be retained by your organization.
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