How To Achieve Focus, Alignment, Accountability and ResultsBy: Brian Ward
The pace of change has accelerated dramatically...or so the various business commentators would have us believe. Without a doubt, organizations of all types are introducing new products, programs and services at a much faster rate than ever before. The customer focused mantra of "Better Value...Faster" has become etched in the psyche of for-profit as well as non-profit and governmental organizations in recent years, driving this demand.
A slew of management 'solutions' have been developed over the years to help leaders and their teams deal with this demand. Witness the rise (and in some cases fall) of:
Where does it all start? Well, every organization has it's own 'initiatives hatchery'. For instance, most organizations, during their annual planning ritual, decide to try out some of these approaches in the hope of boosting performance. My advice is 'don't try'. Have you ever 'tried' to do something? Here's a test - place a pen in front of you and 'try' to pick it up. Now please note...the instruction is not to 'pick it up', the instruction is to 'try'. See what I mean?
So, each year the top leadership team takes off on it's annual retreat, and 'brainstorms' more initiatives to 'try', on top of the ones that are currently being 'tried'.
The answer? Stop trying. Get focused. Here are some examples of focus:
Alignment and Accountability
Alignment occurs voluntarily when your focus is both clear and compelling. People sign up en masse. Detractors make themselves known very early. Others, in due course will either come on board, join the detractors or leave. For more on this see The Footsteps of Change.
With voluntary alignment comes accountability. People demand to be held accountable when they are passionately aligned with the organization's focus. In fact, they hold themselves and each other accountable, without the need for the 'big brother' type of accountability that permeates many organizations who attempt compliance with the focus. In addition, because senior leadership have led by example, people at various levels also stop 'trying' and develop their own focus, which supports that of the organization. Pet projects either get dropped or are seriously realigned, in an accountable fashion, with the focus. Less really is more.
Once the focus, alignment and accountability challenges are met, new energy and excitement grips the organization. New hope emerges. Success becomes attainable. Small successes build into big ones and the organization redefines what is meant by 'trying'...and all because the leaders stopped trying and gave the organization the gift of a clear and compelling focus.
So stop trying and get focused. When you make your focus compelling, you can be assured that alignment, accountability & results will follow naturally.
Oh, about that next planning retreat...speaking as a consultant, why not give this meeting process a 'try'.
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