Leaders assume that they know what they are doing. And in a general sense that is probably true. It is easy, however, to be so general in our direction that we miss the opportunities that a laser like focus could provide. General direction yields general results while focused direction yields focused results. So how do we move from the first to the second.

There is a simple strategic exercise that can help you get there. With some other members of your team and a white board work through the following process.

First. Write on the board the purpose of your team as you currently view it. Don't worry about wordsmithing anything at this stage, just record the purpose.

Second. Make a list of all of your stakeholders. They may be customers, staff, donors, constituents, vendors, or others. Next to each stakeholder, make a note about what is most important to each of those stakeholders. Make sure that you get them all!

Third. Make a list of all your current strategies to reach your purpose. Once you have done this ask yourself the question: Do these strategies speak to the concerns of your stakeholders and are they consistent with your stated purpose above?

Fourth. Go back to your stated purpose in One and refine it in light of your stakeholders, your strategies, and the concerns of your stakeholders. Can you get to a purpose statement that is concise, focused, and clear? Keep working on it until you get there as it may take many tries and multiple minds. Don't quit until it is concise, laser-focused, clear, and speaks to the concerns of your stakeholders and mission.

Fifth. Having done this, go back to your current strategies (3) and ask whether those strategies are going to best help you get to your purpose. Having done the interim work you will probably recognize that some things you are doing are not going to yield the results you desire as expressed in your refined purpose, or the needs of your stakeholders. Remember, general direction yields general results while focused direction yields focused results. Make a note of strategies that you believe need to be rethought, abandoned, or new ones that may be more fruitful.

Sixth. Ask yourself the question: "Are there any new ways of doing what we do that would be a game changer and not just a tweak?" It is finding the game changers in our strategies that move the dial significantly rather than just a tiny bit. Game changers are new ways of thinking, new ideas that can help you achieve your purpose, and outside-the-box thinking. You can tweak all day long but one game changer can literally propel you months or years ahead of where you are. 

Seventh. Settle on a few key strategies that will get you the highest results rather than on many strategies that will get you a few results each. A laser-focused purpose along with the few most fruitful strategies will help you get where you want to go far faster and with better results.

Why do many leaders not do this kind of work? They get lost in the activity of the present (activity and results are not the same), the work of the status quo (which keeps you nicely where you are) rather than taking the time to zero in on the most important issues. Don't neglect the very work that will propel you forward. 

Creating cultures of excellence

  • Feb 04, 2019
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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