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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I’m curious as to what you’re seeing and experiencing in your organization since November’s election. Specifically, I’m curious about whether or not leaders have seen a lack of cooperation among employees.
I’ve been seeing employees harboring resentment for each other because of each other’s politics. When this is carried into the workplace (even if it’s not openly discussed), the result is often a lack of cooperation, even undermining, resulting in a decrease in productivity.
As a leader, how do you get things back on track in your organization? How do you lead when your employees may even resent you if your political views are different than theirs?
So many people, on both sides of whatever “the aisle” seems to be anymore, are digging in their heals, not communicating, not respecting each other as human beings. There is a lack of civility. While this article is not about politics, I can’t help but think that the recent election which seems to have divided this country has likewise divided the workplace.
This is a real life example of when it’s really handy to clearly define your organization’s “WHY?”. When leaders have this under their belt, there is a strong likelihood of successfully reminding everyone why you’re all doing what you’re doing - - together - - and the purpose that’s bigger than any of you. It’s more likely that people will put their differences aside, polarizing as they may be, for the sake of the cause in which they’re emotionally invested.
This holds true for leaders wondering how they’ll be able to successfully refocus their team and maintain - - or maybe even regain - - credibility and their team’s respect. How do you lead in this challenging environment? I’ve spoken with many leaders having this question.
It’s not unusual for organizations - - be they a family, company, sports team, etc. - - to have an experience that challenges their cohesiveness. This may be that time in your organization. Often, it’s beneficial to employ the expertise of an unbiased 3rd party (like Leader’s Learning Lab - - shameless plug, I know) to break down those silos, rediscover common ground and get productivity back on track.
If this is “the elephant in the room” in your organization, call it out! Continuing to ignore it gives it power and things fester only getting worse, not better.
You’re the leader. And, this may be one of those uncomfortable, yet necessary, conversations needed in your organization right now. I’m here to remind you that its part of your responsibility to make sure that happens.
Regardless of the recent election results, those of us fortunately to be employed have jobs to do. Let’s gidder done!
What are you seeing in the workplace? Jump into the conversation below!
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One of the most challenging feats in any organization is finding, interviewing and hiring not only the most qualified candidate for an available position, but equally as important, the most qualified candidate for your organization. The two are not the same. What’s the difference and how do you solve each challenge? Well, read on . . .
Although sometimes challenging to identify a candidate with a qualified skill set, it’s often the easier of the two tasks. Skills are often objective and can be trained. Experience is a bit more subjective, but still can be vetted by asking specific questions about past accomplishments and lessons learned. A strong interview can give the hiring company a fairly accurate idea of where the candidate has been and what they’ve accomplished. And, very little of that is going to let you know if any candidate might be a good fit for your organization.
Let’s assume you have, what you believe to be, a star candidate in front of you. You may have even actively sought them out as “a perfect fit” for the position you are looking to fill. They may even be renown as “the best” at whatever it is they do for a profession and maybe even in your specific industry - - LOTS of relevant & valuable experience! In many cases, this is where most interviews end. The candidate is hired and a few months later you have this honest and painful thought, “This just isn’t working out. They’re just not the right fit for our company”.
We’ve all been there. We hire the “perfect candidate” and they just don’t work out. Vetting culture fit is often left to chance because hiring organizations don’t know how to interview a candidate to avoid this from happening. This mystery is about to be unlocked.
Here it is:
If you doubt the importance of exploring why your company exists, your organization’s core values and your organization’s overarching goal - - if you think any of those things are “too fluffly” or existential or have nothing to do with business - - you may want to reconsider your perspective.
These 3 parts of your organization (A.K.A. your organization’s “Navigation System”) serve as your guide to, among other things, determining whether or not a candidate is the best [ insert position here ] for your organization. These puzzle pieces define the unique requirements for your organization and allow interviews to progress into a phase often ignored. The candidate’s résumé got them the interview. That’s history. Now, you need to determine if they’re willing and able to help you and your organization accomplish your specific future goals, and, if those goals are even important to them. You can only determine this if you, as the leader, have set the course. If you have, you can interview candidates not only to learn where they’ve been, but also where they’re going, and if it syncs up specifically with your organization.
Armed with your organization’s Navigation System you’re now able to determine things about candidates such as, what motivates them, can they get us to where we’re going, how can they get us to where we’re going, will they get along with other team members, can I trust them, will they hold themselves and others accountable, what innovative ideas can they develop to help us reach our goals, how will they treat our clients, etc..
Hiring the wrong person for a position is an expensive mistake. The most skilled and experienced candidate may not be the best candidate for your organization. The sooner this is figured out, the better for all involved.
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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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