Quick Tip: Holiday Fun At Work—And Engages the BrainDecember 15, 2014
Surprising Leadership Lessons From The SeaJanuary 5, 2015
Are you ready to make 2015 your best year yet?
What Will Move The Needle?
A Partner at an investment banking firm in the Midwest came to us with the following challenge. His firm was struggling with low accountability and poor communication. As a result, sales performance was crashing into the abyss—it was time to turn this situation around, and pronto. By setting corporate and departmental needle movers for quarterly and annually, utilizing accountability structures and delegating effectively his firm experienced got sales solidly back on track. Implementing these systems led to their largest pipeline in history and created more proactive sales activity across the firm—his team even recovered 20% of sales he’d feared were lost to competitors..
Are you facing similar challenges in your business? I find many of my executive coaching clients struggle to attain the necessary focus to raise their companies to the next level. The catalyst is identifying “needle movers,”business and personal benchmarks that will make a tangible, measurable, specific positive change. Needle Movers have levels, where goals are binary—you achieve them and feel great or you don’t and feel lousy.
What three accomplishments will “move the needle” in 2015? Perhaps to move your business forward you need to: generate more sales leads, close more key sales opportunities, increase employee engagement or increase accountability within your team? Now focus on the specific results you want and set a Target TGT -0.76%, Minimum and Mind Blower for each Needle Mover.
- Target = what you want
- Minimum = what you are willing to accept
- Mind Blower = what would absolutely rock your world
Remember to distill your Needle Movers to only three because each of these accomplishments will have numerous sub-tasks beneath them. Once you determine your Needle Movers for the year, break those down to Needle Movers for the quarter and Needle Movers for the month. Now only do what will drive your needle movers–this means bright shiny objects have to go b’bye. Create and follow a plan to generate momentum weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.
It’s all about determining the key results that you want to achieve, listing all the actions that must take place to achieve that result, and assigning ownership and resources to each Needle Mover. Find an accountability partner to help keep you on track.
An accountability partner is a friend or colleague that you’ll call weekly at a set time to report the status of the goals you set during the previous call. You’ll discuss any challenges you’re having and seek your partner’s input, and you’ll commit to additional goals to be achieved by your next call. Similarly, you’ll check to see whether your accountability partner has honored their commitments made during your last conversation. If not, the two of you can brainstorm as to how to achieve these goals by your next call. Having accountability partners is a terrific way to forge deeper bonds between peers in an organization.
Keep it simple. Schedule your accountability check-ins for an entire month in advance. I talk with my accountability partner every Friday. We split the time evenly between us on each call, 15-20 minutes each + 5 minutes for random stuff. We follow up as needed between calls via e-mail. It’s fun, you build a strong bond with your partner, and you help one another succeed.
Here’s a helpful weekly status template to send to your Accountability Partner before each call:
- Completed this week
- Not completed and why
- Concerns to discuss
- Weekly win
- What I will complete next week
- Monthly Needle Movers status
- Annual Needle Movers status
There is effective delegation, and there is “rubber band” delegation: when we delegate something and it snaps back to us. Here’s a 5-step process that my executive coaching clients find helps them to end rubber band delegation, and increase ownership and accountability. The result? Less burn out, better results and more energy.
- What are the capabilities (skills required) for a given project/task?
- Check on a person’s capacity (do they have time) and capability (do they have the ability/skills to do the task). Match the person with the project. They are now called the “Owner.”
- Explain the project/task you want the Owner to do, and check in to make sure clear communication has occurred. Say “I would like to increase the clarity of my communication. So could you please echo back to me what you understood so I may ensure I communicated clearly?” Let the Owner echo back what they heard, clarifying gaps and adding whatever may have been missed, paying careful attention to the specifics of what the deliverable is, exact due date and times.
- Now ask how the Owner would like to ensure they get results—what is their plan? Use the Outcome Frameto help them form a success plan.
- Have the Owner track the delegated task. Ensure you have a structure in place so communication is honest when a project/task needs to be rescheduled or deadline renegotiated. Most of our executive coaching clients find dividing a complex project into a series of smaller projects increases visibility, and ensures that weekly deadlines keep momentum.
Why Delegation Fails
Often delegation fails simply because we didn’t follow the processes above. Here are some additional questions to consider:
Are we building/increasing capabilities in our people so they can take on more projects? (You’ll want to include the specifics in the person’s Individual Development Plan.)
Do we need to create more safety, belonging, mattering in our culture, so it’s OK to be an Owner?
There you go! The three things you, as a leader, must do right now to ensure that 2015 is your best year ever.
What process are you committed to starting right now?