Monday, January 25, 2021

The Power of Reflection In The Workplace

In general, reflection is understood as the process of learning through and from experience towards gaining new insights of self and/or practice. This often involves examining assumptions of everyday practices. It also tends to involve the individual practitioner in being self-aware and critically evaluating their own responses to situations. The point is to recapture experiences and mull them over critically in order to gain new understandings and improve future practices.

Reflection is an important part of the human experience that differentiates us from other living beings. It is fundamental to our growth and development, especially in developing higher mental functions such as problem solving and decision-making skills.

Reflection requires several skills which can easily be developed.

  • Self-awareness – an ability to pause, to pay attention to thoughts and feelings and to self-question non-judgementally. This will help you to become aware of your habitual ways of thinking and behaving in any given situation).
  • Description – it is important to be able to describe / recall situations neutrally. These questions can help. What did I see and feel happening? What background factors played a role? What were the things under my control? How would other people involved describe me and the situation?
  • Critical analysis – the ability to challenge your assumptions by asking yourself: Is what I am thinking about myself, others or the situation true? Where do I need to focus next?
  • Review – an ability to pause and to ask: ‘What would I do differently next time and why? How exactly will I do it and how will that give me the outcome I want?’
  • New learning and next steps – an ability to learn about yourself from experiences (your potential and areas for improvement) rather than seeing yourself or others as a failure.

Reflection can be a very empowering process. It can help you to make sense of your day; to come to decisions, to set a course of action; to step away from your habitual way of doing and thinking and discover new freedoms and opportunities.

As a leader, we need all the learning we can get – and reflection is the most powerful opportunity we have. Applying these ideas will make you more effective, productive, and successful in all areas of your life.

So, what have you learned today?

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Lean Quote: The 3 R’s of Choice

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice.  —  Stephen Covey

There are three components to having the power to make choices:

  1. The right to choice
  2. The responsibility to choose
  3. The results of choice

If you don’t believe you have the ability to make choices, you have been deceived. You make choices every single day. You’re making a choice right now.

When you take responsibility for your choices, you realize there is no neutral ground. Every decision you make has inherent meaning and consequence. Every decision you make also reflects what you truly believe, far louder than any words you speak. Thus, what you do with your time actually does matter. Who you spend your time with does matter. Everything you do matters when you take responsibility.

Lastly, results. Every decision has a consequence. Said Dr. Stephen R. Covey,

“We control our actions, but the consequences that flow from those actions are controlled by principles.”

Every decision (and indecision!) has a consequence. Withholding the words, “I love you,” to a child or spouse could be more detrimental than you imagine. Conversely, doing small and simple things, like making someone feel special or smiling at a stranger could change their whole day, and whole life!

To quote the song “Have I Done Any Good?”:

“Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. There are chances for work all around just now, Opportunities right in our way. Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,” But go and do something today.”

Every choice has a ripple effect.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #165 (#2686 - #2700)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #2686 - Communicate Your Vision to Employees

Every successful business has a vision. Maintain regular communication about the company’s vision and request your employees and other people to help you to achieve it. Sharing your business motives with your employees allows them to set their mission and the future leaders see their future in your company and work towards attaining it. Therefore, it is imperative to have a common goal with your employees. Keep them on track each day to ensure that they do not lose focus. Always remember that the future of leadership in your company is determined by the manner that you handle your current workers.

Lean Tip #2687 - Keep Regular Monitoring, Measuring and Rewarding of the Employees

Every employee should be accountable and answerable for their performance. Those that show great efforts and appetite for producing better results should also be rewarded. Rewarding your employees makes them feel appreciated. They put more effort to clinch higher positions and achieve their goals. Ensure that the incentive and appraisal system that you use evaluates your employees’ performance with fairness and rewards the deserving candidates.

Lean Tip #2688 - Show Employees You Trust Them

If you want to help employees develop, trust them to do their jobs by getting out of the way. Let them know what your expectations are by modeling the behavior you expect—show them you trust them. This not only lets employees know what they need to succeed and gives them greater ownership, but it also shows them that credibility and trust are important in your organization.

Lean Tip #2689 - Teach Employees the Difference Between Leadership and Tyranny by Example.

Employees look to supervisors to set the standard for leadership in any workplace. As the primary example of what leadership look like, supervisors have to strike a balance between tyrant and pushover. You can’t let lousy workplace behavior or poor performance slide, but you also can’t resort to unfair punishment for employee mistakes. Just remember, future leaders in the organization will learn what acceptable leadership behavior is from the current people in management positions.

Lean Tip #2690 - Train Promising Employees to be Active Leaders, Not Passive Ones. 

Leaders need to be engaged in the work they’re doing and in the work they’re supervising. Many employees do not feel that their performance is managed in a manner that encourages them to do the best possible work. Encourage your leaders to take a more active hands-on leadership approach.

Encourage future leaders to bear part of the work burden. Managers and supervisors should delegate work when necessary, but they should also be closely involved with the work of the people they’re leading. Leaders should demonstrate to those under them that they are not above the work they’re assigning.

Lean Tip #2691 – Never Underestimate the Value of Sharing Your Time and Building a Relationship With Staff.

They appreciate your genuine interest in their ideas and thoughts about their jobs. They like bouncing ideas back and forth with you and look for your sincere input on their projects and goals.

The role of mentor and coach is powerful in training your organization’s culture and expectations. It is also a significant source of experiential knowledge, history, work approaches, and on-the-job training.

Pay attention to your staff, recognize them, and provide exciting work. Provide constructive criticism, that they will actually implement, you must have a relationship with them first.

Lean Tip #2692 –One of the Best Forms of Recognition is to Provide Opportunities for a Contributing Employee.

Opportunities can take many forms. But, all of them are outside of the normal day-to-day requirements of their job plan.

Employees appreciate chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate in a special committee where their talents are noticed. They’d like to lead a team that is pursuing an important objective. 

They are happy to attend professional association meetings and proud to represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events. They’d appreciate the green light relative to implementing an idea they have for increasing morale in your workplace. They are eager to stop doing portions of their job that have become rote in favor of new goals and assignments that stretch their skills and build on their abilities.

Lean Tip #2693 – Connect to the Bigger Picture

Recognition helps employees see that their company values them and their contributions to the success of their team and the company overall.

This is particularly key when organizations grow or change. It helps employees build a sense of security in their value to the company, motivating them to continue great work.

Regularly share news about how the company is striving to reach the mission, and explain how individual employee goals relate to that vision.

Lean Tip #2694 – Connect Recognition to Company Values

Another way to ingrain recognition into company culture is to relate it directly to your organization’s core values. This can take praise to a deeper level; rather than simply recognizing an employee’s great work on a project, you can explain how that work epitomizes the organization’s mission and is a key step toward its big-picture goals. Employees will see that their work is integral to the success of the company, which should help to inspire their work on a daily basis.

Lean Tip #2695 – Recognition Is More Than Words

There are so many ways to praise your employees. You can write positive feedback or publicly recognize employees at a team or company meeting. You can give them a handwritten note or gift. If the team has a big success, you can switch up the daily routine—let them come into work a bit late or leave a little early, or do a fun virtual activity.

Another way to recognize employees is through your actions. That could be a raise or promotion, or it could be that you assign them a big new client or let them take on more responsibility. It’s a way to exhibit trust and demonstrate that you’re invested in their long-term growth. Want to learn more? Check out our other resources on recognition and feedback.

Lean Tip #2696 – Earn Respect, Show Humility.

Be willing to admit your flaws, but do not focus on them. You should have some self-depreciation, but it should be paired with self-confidence. People generally will not respect a leader who appears insecure and continuously mentions their shortcomings.

Show your human side but maintain a sense of bravado and self-assurance.

Lean Tip #2697 – Earn Respect, Have Patience With Others.

Realize that co-workers each have their individual levels of learning and adapt to new tasks and job assignments accordingly. Praise others as they master each step of their new assignments. Having patience with others will demonstrate you have confidence in co-workers and believe they can expand their knowledge and skills. People are most likely to respect those who treat well and will not fear approaching them with problems or questions.

Lean Tip #2698 – Earn Respect, Be Inclusive

Tell employees about changes in the organization and what impact it may have on all involved. Encourage employees to ask questions and stay informed about what is happening within the company. One simple way to accomplish is to publish an office newsletter. 

Lean Tip #2699 – Earn Respect, Share Knowledge With Co-Workers

This action demonstrates that you have confidence in their abilities to handle new situations and that you respect them enough to share this important information. As you seek knowledge, you must also learn the value of communal learning.

This will help you form a team mentality in the workplace and include others in your success. Respected people are seldom loners on the road to success. They include others along their journey and make it known that everyone has a role in the success of the company.

Lean Tip #2700 – Earn Respect, Praise Workers

This enhances their confidence in their skills. It may encourage them to work harder and learn new tasks and skills. If you must give criticism, combine it with praise for what the employee does well. If something does go wrong, do not publicly blame anyone else. If addressing a group, explain the problem and what steps are being taken to prevent future occurrences.


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Monday, January 18, 2021

8 Leadership Lessons From Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, January 18, we celebrate across the nation the tremendous legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. His leadership excellence is best exemplified in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech that was delivered on August 28, 1963. In what is arguably one of the most famous speeches in history, Martin Luther King Jr. provided an articulate version for the future of this great nation. The speech contained some great leadership insights. If fact, an executive leadership development program could be built around the lessons from that Dr. King gave in that historic speech.

From Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech there are eight great leadership insights. They are:

1. Great leaders do not sugar coat reality.
Martin Luther King Jr. talked directly about the conflict and brutal reality facing the nation so that he could later set the stage for his vision on how we all can overcome these problems.

2. Great leaders engage the heart.
While logic may compel the mind, stories and metaphors move the heart. This is the difference between offering information and inspiration. Dr. King chose not to make a fact-based argument and instead decided to make a direct appeal to the hearts of the world. In so doing he made history.

3. Great leaders refuse to accept the status quo.
Dr. King refused to accept what was currently acceptable and outlined a bold vision on what needed to be changed – why it needed to be changed – and how it would be changed. Effective career coaching – like what we provide at OI Partners – helps leaders fine tune this critical skill.

4. Great leaders create a sense of urgency.
They are impatient—in a good way. They refuse to just sit by and let things take their natural course. They have a sense of urgency and communicate it. Dr. King reminded America of the “fierce urgency of Now”.

5. Great leaders call people to act in accord with their highest values.
Dr. King took the higher ground of nonviolent resistance that his movement would have the moral authority in their quest for change. Like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, Dr. King believed that his movement could achieve their objectives by taking a higher standard.

6. Great leaders refuse to settle.
Great leaders know when to be stubborn and when it is better to compromise. Dr. King made a number of compromises on the smaller things, but was relentless when it came to achieving his vision.

7. Great leaders acknowledge the sacrifice of their followers.
They notice the effort their people have expended. Dr. King did not take credit for the accomplishments of his movement. He saw it as a collective effort. From this he received the engagement of his followers.

8. Great leaders paint a vivid picture of a better tomorrow.
Leaders can never grow weary of articulating their vision. They must be clear and concrete. They have to help their followers see what they see. Dr. King talked about his dream:
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”

King's impressive command of the above leadership lessons led to truly historic success. They hold powerful lessons for all leaders, and underscore the courage and persistence needed to change the world. Leaders who want to change minds and overcome deeply entrenched prejudices, biases, and misguided values need to master the eight lessons profiled above and illustrated through Dr King's words and deeds.

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Lean Quote: Change Does Not Roll in on the Wheels of Inevitability

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.  —  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., would have been 92 this month, and his assassination occurred nearly 53 years ago. As we get further and further from that time, memories get fuzzy and a kind of collective amnesia sets in. But he provided a great many lessons we should not forget.

Change does not just happen overnight. Lean progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of continuous transformation.

Change is one of the most difficult things for humans to readily accept. Anyone who has worked in or led an organization's transformation understands change is not easy. We are so ingrained in the way that we do things that to do it a new way, or to stop doing something causes us to feel uncomfortable. We equate uncomfortable with wrong, instead of different, and there's a tendency to go back to what was comfortable.

Making a change requires a leap of faith. Taking that leap of faith is risky, and people will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe – and perhaps more importantly, feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction.  Making a change takes lots of leaps of faith.

Leaders may make bold and often unpopular decisions. Effective leaders require courage - to stand up for what is right, for what they believe in, and to take the necessary risks to be innovative and creative.

You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, leaders need challenge employees to grow. Help them prepare for change by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Lean is a journey that never ends. There will always be a gap between where you are (current state) and where you would like to be (True North). Since there will always be a gap, there will always be an opportunity to improve. The road to continual improvement can be a rocky one with many ups and downs.

Don’t leave Lean to chance. Be persistent with your transformational change.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Six Practical Tips for Developing an Engaged Workforce

One thing which is common to most successful business organizations is that they have a troop of engaged employees. An engaged workforce is connected emotionally to the organization. As a result, it exhibits higher productivity, enhances profitability and leaves no stone unturned to support the company’s growth. It’s no wonder that today companies across the globe have realized the importance of an engaged workforce and started making plans to cultivate one for them. If you also aspire to generate an engaged workforce, this blog is here to assist you with the same. Now, let’s discuss six useful tips to help you develop an engaged workforce in your company.

  1. Make employee appreciation a priority:

‘Appreciation’ is a fundamental need of all human beings. It is the force which motivates us to give our best in whatever we do. If you start appreciating your employees for every effort they put in for your company’s growth, they’ll feel valued and empowered. As a result, they will direct their efforts to outperform their previous performance and yield even better results. This way, they’ll gradually become engaged. So, you can try to make employee appreciation a priority in your company. You can begin by appreciating your employees for something good every day such as punctuality, cordial behavior and so on. Soon, you’ll see that your appreciation is transforming your employees and leading them to engagement.

  1. Help your employees de-stress:

Stress is one of the major hindrances to employee engagement. Stressed employees cannot concentrate properly. When they are not focused, their engagement levels are bound to remain low. This implies that to cultivate an engaged workforce; you have to help your employees de-stress. For this, there are several practices which  you can implement, such as the ones given below:

       Organize meditation programs in your company:

Meditation is one of the most effective techniques for stress management. It helps the brain relax and brings a reduction in the secretion of stress hormones. So, you can organize meditation programs in your company to help your employees de-stress.

       Conduct fun activities for your employees:

Fun activities trigger laughter and feelings of enjoyment. This helps your employees’ brain get distracted from worries and induces a calming effect. So, you should try to conduct fun activities for your employees. Games, watching stand up comedy videos and other funny videos are some examples of fun activities which you can conduct.

       Make physical activities a part of the work schedule:

Physical activities like exercise and dancing trigger the secretion of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemical substances which have mood-boosting effects and bring a reduction in stress levels. Now, to help your employees de-stress, you can make physical activities a part of the work schedule. For example, you can gather your employees for a quick exercise session in the middle of the day. 

  1. Help your employees in career advancement:

Growth is a fundamental requirement of all human beings. We always aspire to develop and grow in our professional life. The same is true for your employees. Just imagine what can happen if you start providing them with opportunities for career advancement? Won’t they naturally become emotionally connected to your organisation for helping them fulfil one of their most fundamental requirements? The answer is big, yes! So, why not help your employees with career advancement? It has dual benefits for your company.

Firstly, it will promote employee engagement in your company. Secondly, as your employees grow in their career, their knowledge will increase, their performance will get significantly improved, ultimately benefiting your company’s growth. Thus, you can try to offer different career advancement opportunities to your employees in terms of training course, tuition reimbursement and higher education support. 

  1. Keep the lines of communication open:

It is often that employees do not get the opportunity to interact with the successive levels of management. Their interaction is mostly limited to their immediate managers and supervisors. As a result, they cannot connect deeply with the organization. This implies that for employee engagement, you have to keep the lines of communication open at all levels. Your employees should get regular opportunities to interact with you and other organizational leaders. These interactions should not necessarily be informal. It will be better if you let them be a little relaxed. It will help you develop an emotional connection with your employees, and they’ll naturally become engaged and serve your company in the best manner.

  1. Help your employees establish a better work-life balance:

Work is just a part of life, isn’t it? No doubt, it plays a crucial role in helping us live a happy life; there is much more to a happy life than work. Spending quality time with family, getting enough relaxation and self-time are some essential elements of a happy life. When we miss out on these elements because of work, we become really miserable and cannot work engagingly. This implies that the disruption of work-life balance leads to employee disengagement. So, you should try to help your employees establish a better work-life balance. For this, you can offer facilities like flexible working hours and remote working.

  1. Establish a culture which is free from micromanagement: 

‘Micromanagement’ is a management strategy wherein managers closely monitor the actions and working style of their employees with a vision to make them function in a way they prefer. Such style of management makes the employees feel frustrated. They feel as if you don’t trust them and start paving towards disengagement. This implies that micromanagement is an employee engagement killer! So, you should try to establish a culture which is free from micromanagement. For this, you can offer proper management training to managers, leaders and supervisors of your company.

As you know, an engaged workforce possesses different qualities which can help your organization take dedicated steps towards success. You can generate an engaged workforce in your company with the help of the tips mentioned above. Now, wishing you All the Best and may your company enjoy having a troop of engaged employees soon. 

About the Author: 

An ardent writer, Jessica Robinson, works for ‘The Speaking Polymath’. She uses this platform to weave her magical words into powerful strands of content and share with her readers.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

The Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Goal Setting Practice

This is the time of year when people are trying to turn over a new leaf. The beginning of the year marks a point where people make New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, many fail to keep those resolutions. In fact, 81 percent of resolution's fail within two years. The top New Year's resolutions rarely change year to year. The most popular typically revolve around losing weight, managing stress, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, and learning a new skill.

Personally, I recommend forgetting the whole concept of resolutions and concentrating on setting goals instead. Resolutions and goal setting may seem similar, but resolutions typically take a let's start something and see what happens approach, while goal setting is about planning a specific path to success.

Goal setting is a process whereby you decide what you want to achieve and set up a plan to do it.  The very first step of goal setting is to, first, determine what you want at the end of the journey. That is your ultimate destination.  Some people say that goal setting is just a matter of sitting down and deciding what to do.  If you fully intend to achieve your goals, you should perceive goal setting as an extremely powerful process of personal planning.

Here is my top 10 list of the ways I’ve seen goal setting go from ordinary to something useful in aligning, enabling, and accelerating individual and organizational performance.

  1. Align to Company Mission – Goal setting, at its best, is used to align the individual goals to those of the organization, in support of executing on a competitive strategy in service of the organization’s mission. Make sure the individual goals are consistent with, aligned to, and enable the organizational strategy or that they are relevant to the organization’s mission. The natural flow is: Mission >> strategy >> objectives >> plans (budgets) >> capabilities >> performance >> behaviors. A great check to see if the behaviors enable better performance to achieve the strategy is to ask: “If this person delivers 1000% above their set goal, what difference will that make to the organization achieving its strategic goals?” If the answer is “nothing” or “not much” then you are either measuring the wrong goal or you may have to look at how that job is designed.
  2. Manage Risk – The riskier we make goal setting and performance reviews, the more defensive the activity will become. This risk is where people will maximize their outcomes. If you have a risky environment where people who fail to meet their goals get fired then that will drive a defensive approach to goal setting (e.g., sandbagging or under-promising to then over-deliver). First, risk mitigation is to de-couple goal setting and performance reviews from compensation discussions. Yes, performance and compensation should be aligned. But we all recognize that more goes into compensation than just goal setting. The more tied to compensation, the more likely you are to see ‘gaming the system’ or other manipulation for personal maximization.
  3. Fewer, Simpler, More Meaningful Metrics – We have a growing capability to measure a lot of things. That data can become overwhelming. Some of the best people who are measuring performance boil it down to one, two, or three key things. Too many metrics, too many goals and they will invariably come into conflict with one another or get so complicated in tracking that the marginal utility turns negative. Even people who measure a lot of things, over time will tend to simplify things into a primary measure with a few supporting measures. For example, Apple Watch uses 10,000 steps as a proxy for activity. It is not complete or definitive, but it is directionally correct, easy to remember, easy to monitor, and easy to action. There are hundreds of other metrics they could use.
  4. Focus on Outcomes, not Activity – Goals should reflect the outcome we are trying to create. I ask clients which they would prefer: the person who accomplishes a task in 2 hours or the person who accomplishes an outcome in 20 hours? Let’s not reward activity. The goal should be SMART, but also reflect the outcome. SMART goals are specific, measurable, are attainable, relevant, and timely. Avoid counting hours or number of times attempted or other work-in-process indicators. What is the result you are looking for?
  5. Understand Your Contribution – One of the most important elements in a goal setting conversation is the discussion to understand how well the person setting their goals really understands their context. How well is the company doing? What is their contribution to key processes? Are they part of a cost center or a profit center? What are the key things the organization competes on in the marketplace and what is their contribution to achieving that. Be sure to ask a number of questions to check their level of understanding. If they don’t understand the business, then that could be one of their goals.
  6. Motivate, Not Discourage – Goal setting and performance management is an opportunity to build the capabilities of the people in the organization. Only in a few cases does being critical to a person become motivating to them. Those people tend to do well in athletics or the military. Most people work better from encouragement, mentoring, and guidance on what to do. Often simply stating the impact their actions or inactions have had are enough to motivate a desire to improve, then the focus can shift on helping them to improve. That help should start with building on what they are already doing well.
  7. Be Aware of Set Backs – Goal setting usually involves doing something more or different or new. If it’s a case of doing something different or differently or new, as the reviewer you need to expect performance to drop initially. This effect – where performance degrades as the person tries new skills or behaviors, but eventually returns to baseline then improves – is called the J-curve. Putting in new systems in warehouses or data processing, we knew it would take 13 weeks of practicing the new way to get back to baseline and within 6 months there would be significant year-over-year improvement. So, build that learning time into the goal setting.
  8. Behaviors are More Important than Numbers – When you are trying to adopt new ways of working or achieving higher performance, focus more on the demonstration of new behaviors and less on the actual performance metrics. When Harley-Davidson moved to a new production method in their York plant in 2009, the focus was on the behaviors, not on the metrics. They knew that if they focused on recognizing and acknowledging their team members doing the right things, then the performance metrics would eventually show that improvement. Simon Sinek has a great example about working out and eating healthy – if you look in the mirror every day after working out, you won’t see much progress, and you’d be tempted to say after a few days that it’s not working, even though there is long-term data that exercise and good diets promote health.
  9. Vertical Accountability – Goal setting is as much about the person setting the goals as it is about the person they report to. Goal setting for the manager and executives should be aligned throughout the vertical reporting chain. Meaning, as a manager, one of my goals should be that my team members achieve their goals. Getting the boss invested in helping their team members succeed is an important way to gain alignment and support. If a manager has a team where no one meets their goals, chances are good that it’s not entirely the fault of the staff. Know what your boss’s boss’s boss’s priorities are. Even better is to hold the leaders accountable for their teams achieving their goals.
  10. Increase the Frequency – Employees entering the workforce today are digital natives. They are used to getting things on-demand (e.g., Amazon, Google, YouTube, etc.). They are feedback intensive. They want to know if they are doing a good job – and they want to succeed. If they are working for you, and you are still reading this, chances are they (and you) did well in school. Digital natives had instant feedback and constant pressure to get an A in school. So, the more you can move goal setting and performance feedback from annual to quarterly to monthly to constant, the more they will benefit from those short conversations where you check in on their progress, ask them what help they want from you, and offer some suggestions. They will love the feedback and strive to achieve their goals and, in doing so, achieve your objectives, and in doing so, help the organization deliver on the strategy and serve their mission.

Goal achievement is an art form and understanding and becoming proficient in all these steps of goal setting will help you achieve the success you deserve and for which you are striving. No strategy is set in stone, which makes the goal setting process a dynamic endeavor. Consider yourself a coach on the sidelines, continuously referring to playbooks and constantly re-evaluating strategies and players or making adjustments at halftime. Set goals, and execute on them—but be sure to evaluate those goals year-round, not solely during performance reviews. The more you monitor individual objectives, the greater the likelihood that they will be on target and fulfilled.

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