The Leadership Series Part 3.5: Developing High-Performing Teams

Getting into Action and the Resulting Traction

Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve written an installment in this series. Busy, just like you. I am also continuing to work on a new leadership series, Leading from Within, the first post of which will be out in the next month.

Alright, where we left off in the last installment of the leadership series, was discussing relationships, process, and systems. All necessary and needed to prepare yourself and the team for being in action and gaining traction.

In this post we will look at roles and responsibilities, getting into action, and the resulting traction. Ready? Good. Here we go.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Roles and Responsibilities

In a team environment, defining each team member’s work and areas of expertise is important. If you don’t know, you won’t know who to hand the “ball” to, who to go to when you need help, and you will not understand what your team members do at work.

Being on a team means defining roles and responsibilities. The first time the team and I completed this task, it was hard. Hard because I came from outside of the department, and most of the people in the burgeoning department knew of each other, yet didn’t really know each other. Meaning, there were acquaintances, yet for what this team would eventually begin to create and build, acquaintances wouldn’t be enough.

We needed to really know each other, to really get each other; and, to do that, you need to dig into the individual work.

I’m sure there are many ways to define roles and responsibilities, yet I only really know how we did it, so here we go.

  • Defining roles and responsibilities – it is important on a new team to use the same language. In fact, I’ve not written a post about this concept, and it is an important one. When you are building a team and a culture around a team, you are creating an overarching system for how people communicate; and, using the same language consistently is key, which is why defining roles and responsibilities is an important first step.
  • Individual staff time – once you’ve defined roles and responsibilities, and have talked with each staff member about their individual roles and responsibilities, each staff member will need time to actually write their roles and responsibilities out. Know that they may have never been asked to do something like this, so will need some time. I think we took about 2 or 3 weeks to write ours out.
  • All staff meetings – once all of the roles and responsibilities are submitted, create an all staff meeting to go through them together; and, have each staff member talk through their roles and responsibilities. Important. This will give their teammates the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Document and file – after all staff members have sight on each other’s work, and have had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their work, make sure to document and file the roles and responsibilities. Documentation can be done many ways. If you use a project management system, that would work, as would a Google shared drive folder.
  • Keep them handy – how you document the roles and responsibilities matter less than that they are accessible to all staff, and are referenced often. After we completed our roles and responsibilities, I used these data to formulate portions of our very first 1W1 conversations. Helpful.
Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Results

As we created our roles and responsibilities, we also worked through the results we intended to achieve in our respective positions.

Here is an example of what that looked like.

Albany, Oregon 2021

Yep, that picture is a little askew, yet you get the idea.

Setting your intention early on in a team’s formation can really assist everyone, especially if you are in a leadership position. It tells you what people are passionate about, and how they plan to achieve their goals, and results.

Once everyone’s roles and responsibilities are declared and results are clearly articulated, it’s time to create a system for getting into action.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Getting into Action

The past two weeks I’ve been reflecting more upon the system we’ve created over the past three years, which I’m going to walk you through momentarily. One thing you will notice is that within the system, there is a focus on both people and performance.

As I wrote about in the post, Causal Loop 101, a focus on people only results in a lack of action and traction, whereas a focus on performance only will result in declining morale and burnout.

Here is a very simple system anyone in a leadership position can use to move from inaction to action to traction. Ready? Good. Here we go.

  1. Door’s always open – as I’ve written about in other posts, creating safety on your team is paramount. And, one way to do that is to ensure you are available. Being open and available for people let’s everyone know that they are the priority.
  2. 1W1’s – I’ve been conducting 1W1’s with the team for almost 4 years now. These 1W1 conversations have iterated over time. For almost 2 years they were weekly, and now? Only as needed. 1W1’s are instrumental when creating a new team. Creating relationships takes time, intention, and thoughtfulness. There really isn’t anything more important than these relationships.
  3. Program Meetings – these smaller interdepartmental meetings have also iterated over time. Today, there is really only one program that still meets weekly. It is the most complex program, with the most staff, so that’s what feels right today.
  4. Area-specific meetings – the registration staff also meets weekly right now. Super helpful during a time when we are not all together in our office, and can easily have ad hoc conversations. At some point these meetings will probably go by the wayside, yet not right now.
  5. Quarterly team building – an important aspect of building teams is making sure that each person on the team has access to high quality developmental opportunities. We began quarterly team building in year 2, and though we are on a hiatus from team building right now, they will be back once we are back on campus.
  6. Weekly messaging – as many of you know, I send the team a message each Monday morning. It is a way for me to stay connected, and give them a reflection from the week before. Something for them to ponder and reflect upon as they work through their week.
  7. Monthly Updates – I usually send out a small monthly progress report, which lets the team know how we are performing across each program in the department. They are to keep the connection going, to give them data, and to celebrate our many victories.
  8. Quarterly reports – these more detailed reports relay important data on how we performed against our metrics, and testimonials from students and clients. They serve two distinct purposes – give the team my sight and thinking on the current reality and landscape, and to celebrate our accomplishments.
Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash

Resulting Traction

When people on a team feel safe, know what each other do, understand their goals and priorities, and fully support the vision, you will get traction. One way to ensure that happens is to install systems into the team to ensure that there is predictability and stability.

Though our systems are mostly home-grown, they work; and, though the type of education we work in changes rapidly, just like businesses in the private sector, there is always a sense of predictability and stability amidst the chaos. Important.

You might be thinking, what does traction look like?

Well, it can look lots of different ways. One thing it is not? Just hitting a metric. That’s not it.

Meeting your goals, objectives, priorities, and metrics is only one part of the equation. Just one. The other? Developing high-quality relationships with each other that can withstand changes and chaos that will come your way. It is inevitable.

If you have the former without the latter, the team will eventually falter. If you have the latter without the former, you will achieve the former in time, and the resulting traction. Guaranteed.

Alright, that’s the last entry in The Leadership Series. It was fun. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am currently working on a new Leadership Series, the first post of which should be out sometime in April. That will also be fun. Until then, lead well.

#action, #beinginaction, #creatingtractiononteams, #leadership-development, #peopledevelopment, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #results, #rolesandresponsibilities, #teambuilding, #teamdevelopment, #traction

The Blog + Video Series #13: Moving From Concept to Execution: Implementing Developmental Growth Opportunities at Work

This week I’ve been reflecting upon how we learn. Though there are learning styles, which are important to know, I’ve been reflecting more upon the process of learning. How we take in new information, process it, reflect upon it, adapt it, and formalize it into the other processes and systems we currently use.

Why might this be important to consider, understand, and become familiar with?

Good question. It is important to consider and understand, because this understanding can help leaders create bridges for people. The familiarity of which can create a bridge for your team and move you from concept into execution. Let’s take a look how.

Learning

It’s important for everyone to have access to developmental opportunities. To learn and to grow. Important. Knowing this, how do you suppose you create these opportunities? While larger organizations typically have a model for training staff, it does not always follow that everyone in the organization has the same access to developmental opportunities. Hm.

What to do, then, when your business or organization does not offer training, or those training programs are limited in some way, or designated for only mid-level and executive employees?

Create them from within

As a leader, you can create opportunities for your team to develop and grow. How? Find out what each person’s strengths and weaknesses are, always starting with yourself first, and then find ways to engage them with new concepts and tools to stretch them, and help them grow.

For instance, we created an opportunity in our second year as a team to develop strategic thinking skills, which included several training days. The culmination of which was deploying a system for organizing our daily work and balancing strategy. The need was there, and we moved it forward, and so can you.

Here are some considerations on how to get started.
  • Define the need – here are some questions to assist your thinking.
    • Where is the gap?
    • What training is needed to fill the gap?
    • Who will facilitate the training?
    • When will you implement the training?
    • How will you evaluate the training’s effectiveness?
    • What is the return on investment of the training?
  • Create a training plan with internal or external training professionals – here are some questions to consider.
    • What is the training goal?
    • How will you know when you’ve met your goal?
    • What does post-training traction look like?
    • What metrics will you use to measure traction?
  • Implement – communicate about the training, create buy-in with staff, and implement.
  • Evaluate – make sure you have traction.
  • Repeat – we created a system of training once a quarter. Worked well.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gaelle-marcel-l8snwgunqbu-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Adjustment

With any learning process, there is a period of time that people need to adjust to their new workflow reality. How can you assist staff in making these necessary adjustments?

Here are a few ideas.

  • Create a post-training system to ensure that you have traction – the system should at the very least include:
    • Post-training follow up – what did you and the team learn, and how will you move the new concepts and tools forward.
    • Periodic staff check-in’s – I’ve always used one-with-ones to ensure that staff have the support they need, and are adjusting well to their new workflow reality.
    • Measure your movement – create a way to measure your post-training progress. This might be quantitative metrics, such as increases in revenue, or it may be qualitative, such as increased workflow effectiveness.
  • Continue to follow-up – to really gain traction, the new concepts and tools must be incorporated into everyone’s daily work, including yours. There really is no other way. If this does not happen, the new concepts and tools you are implementing will lack traction.
  • Create consistency – once you have movement, start talking with the leadership team about the next training. Be consistent, and offer training opportunities at a regular drumbeat, so staff can count on, and expect them.
  • Monitor progress – continue to check in with staff on their progress. Monitor traction. You may find that after three months, the team needs a refresher on a topic you’ve already covered. That’s okay. What really matters is that you’ve created access for your team to develop and grow; and that you will remain committed to doing so, refreshers and all.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jj-ying-7jx0-bfiuxq-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash

Integrate

Once the team has adjusted to their new reality, which includes new concepts and tools, you will need to devise individual development plans. These plans will ensure that each staff integrates the new concepts and tools into their current workflow in a way that suits their learning style, which will increase retention, mastery, and traction.

Where to start?

As was aforementioned, I’ve used one-with-one’s often in my professional career. I find that they work well to create plans tailored to the individual. These plans can also be used to track progress and as a coaching tool.

The most important thing about integration, is that all staff actively integrate the new concepts and tools into their daily workflow. You are building healthy habits in this regard. Really. People like habits, and once you have created that habituation within yourself, a must, you can deploy that to the team.

Here are a few examples.
  • Whiteboards – some people are very visual, and literally need to see the work drawn or sketched out. I’m like that. If you have staff that are visual, do whiteboard work with them, so they can see the new concepts and tools inside of their current workflow. Important.
  • Post-its – funny. I always say it matters less how you organize yourself, than it does that you develop a system that works for you. And, if post-its work for you, like they do me, use them. Again, what matters is that the staff member can feel a level of comfort with the new concepts and tools, inside of a system they’ve already developed.
  • Calendars – a good way to organize by setting reminders for new tasks. For instance, after we completed a strategic thinking training day last year, I had every staff member add one hour per week of strategic thinking to their calendars.
  • Project Management Systems – we’ve been using a project management system for over a year now. Works for some on the team, and not as much for others. Yet, having a systematized way to move larger projects forward is important. I’ve found this addition helpful, and a contributor to the team’s overall traction.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jesus-santos-zbbkk2-cgf8-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash

Reflect

We all need time to process new information, time to reflect. I advocate for giving your staff the same consideration you give yourself, especially when incorporating new concepts and tools into their daily work. You need it as a leader, and so do they. We all do.

How do you incorporate reflection time into the day?

If you use reflection often as a daily strategy this will be simpler. If you do not, there may be a stretch here for you, however, I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor. We are all inundated with constant stimuli, and the need to take a break from that stimuli to really get clear on our work is necessary and needed.

Here are a few strategies you can try.
  • Build that time in for yourself first – the only way to create traction with anything, is to create it for yourself first. Once you have a system down, you can coach and guide people into it. If you are not familiar with reflection time, add 30-minute reflection times into your daily calendar. Try it a couple times a week, with a goal to have it worked into your calendar daily.
  • Coach the team on taking the same time – once you’ve practiced taking reflection time for yourself, you can advise the team on doing the same thing. Have them build it in similarly. A day or two a week to start, with the goal of having daily reflection time.
  • Create reflection time after meetings and one-with-one’s – another strategy that we employ is taking time to reflect upon decisions. As you practice this strategy, you will come to see, as we have, that many decisions do not need to be made quickly. You have time. Take it, and use it wisely to reflect and engage with yourself and your team on the best course of action.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ux-indonesia-qc2n6rqu4vw-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash

Formalize

Once you have strategies in place to incorporate new learning, integration, adjustment, and reflection time into everyone’s workflow, you can start to make plans to formalize these new processes and systems. Simply meaning that to build these healthy work habits, and to have them stick, they must be practiced daily; and they need to be documented.

As we’ve discussed, people all learn differently, so create a few different ways to engage with the team, which will ensure you maintain traction on the aforementioned learning strategies. The main way we move projects of this size forward is to input them into our project management software, which has worked pretty well.

Again, what you use to formalize and document a new system or process, of which learning and development are two, matters less than you taking the time to create a learning and development plan for yourself, each team member, and the overall team.

I think you will find that the payoff in terms of work efficiency, overall team moral, and team cohesion will increase as you continue to create opportunities for people to learn new things, and to develop themselves at work. And, once that is accomplished, you and your team will be ready to move from concept to execution, and into the traction zone.

Be well, and lead well.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is daria-nepriakhina-zocdwpuirua-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

#businessdevelopment, #developingteams, #developmentandgroth, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershippractice, #leadershipprinciples, #leadershipvalues, #learning, #learningandengagement, #organizationaldevelopment, #teambuilding, #teamdevelopment, #teamengagement, #teammoral, #teamtraining

Leadership in Practice Series Part 2: Creating 90-Day Priorities Inside of a 10-Year Vision

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is matt-noble-bptmnn9jsmq-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

Once your vision is created, then what? Regardless of whether it is a 10-year, 5-year, or 3-year vision, you will need to put plans in place that will connect the daily work to that vision. That is how your 10-year vision will become a reality.

What, then, are the first steps to ensure that your weekly, monthly, and quarterly work connects to the long-term vision?

In this article we will walk through the process we went through to connect the 10-year vision to our 90-day priorities. First, another question.

Where does a leader start when they want to ensure that everyone’s daily work on the team, or in the business or organization they belong to is contributing to the long-term goals?

Let’s take a look.

Start with the 10-year Vision and ask yourself a couple of questions.

  • What are the goals of the 10-year vision?
  • What are the metrics of the 5-year plan?
  • What will the current year look like?

Let’s look at each question, one at a time.

What are the goals of the 10-year vision?

Once the vision is created, it’s time to create the goals that will drive all of the work. However, before you move on to creating those goals, which will drive the objectives and priorities, ask yourself what your vision will look like in reality.

What will the revenue and service look like, what will the staffing model look like, will you add positions between now and then?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, or ones that are more important to your particular vision, start to build out what that vision will look like in reality. Here is an example, vision first, then what it will look like in reality.

Here is the vision

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2774.png

Here is what it will look like

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2775.png
Note that the word profit in this instance is referring to department reinvestment funds.

Once you’ve created the 10-year vision, and also know what it will look like, you are ready to work backward. When I went through this exercise last year, I started this part of the planning session with year 5. I looked at the previously designated metrics and asked myself what they would look like in reality. For instance, what would revenue look like, and how many people would we serve.

What are the metrics of the 5-year plan?

Here is what that looked like

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2777.png

It is a wonderful exercise to start with the larger 10-year vision and to work backward to the 5-year plan, creating more clarity as you go. It is how you begin to connect the 10-year vision with the work you need to do today.

Once you’ve worked backward to year 5, you are ready to work backward once again to year 3, or whatever the current year is for your team, business, or organization. It is important to continue to get clearer on what the future reality will look like.

What will the current year look like?

Year 3 Department Objectives

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2780.png

As you continue to work backward from the 10-year vision to year 5, to the current year you are planning for, in this example, year 3, the objectives that will lead the team to that 10-year vision do become more clear. Important.

And, as these objectives become more clear, so will the priorities that will drive each person’s work. For instance, in our year 3, we had 1-year objectives, which we executed on in 90-day chunks. Meaning that we focused on moving forward our yearly objectives with 90-day priorities that would shift as needed, yet the objectives would remain the same.

Year 3 Staff Objectives

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2776-1.png

Once you get to 90-day priorities, it is time to create a coaching model that will mirror all of the aforementioned. Fully discussing this coaching model is for another article, yet I would like to share with you the simple template we created, so you can see how a 10-year vision can connect to a staff member’s daily work.

Coaching Model Template

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2782.png

Though you can only see a portion of the form, you can see the overall process, where the yearly objectives (on the left) are connected to the department objectives (on the left in bold), while the specific priorities and actions to move that work forward are on the right. Fun.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the following article, One BHAG, Two BHAG, and Creating a Disruption Vision, in which we discussed the possibility of creating a disruption vision or BHAG inside of a 10-year vision. And now, the planning process we’ve walked through in this article is being recreated. The difference?

Because there is so much change right now, we have a 1-year BHAG, which lives inside of the 10-year vision, and 30-day priorities, instead of 90. I am in the process right now of re-instituting one-with-ones so that we can discuss, plan, and create our next actions one month at a time. Allowing us the pivotability, and flexibility needed.

Very well. There you have an example, with tools, on how you can connect your team, business, or organizations’ 10-year vision to the work that needs to be done daily to ensure that the 10-year vision will live in reality.

Be well, and lead well.

You can reach Jeff Flesch at fleschj@linnbenton.edu

#businesscoaching, #businessmetrics, #creatinga10-yearvision, #creatingstrategy, #creatingvision, #develpingmetrics, #goalsetting, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipinpractice, #leadershipmindset, #leadershippractice, #leadershipprinciples, #leadershipvalues, #strategicplanning, #strategicthinking, #team, #teambuilding, #teamdevelopment, #teamengagement, #teammoral

Moving From Concept to Execution: Implementing Developmental Growth Opportunities at Work

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is daria-nepriakhina-zocdwpuirua-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

This week I’ve been reflecting upon how we learn. Though there are learning styles, which are important to know, I’ve been reflecting more upon the process of learning. How we take in new information, process it, reflect upon it, adapt it, and formalize it into the other processes and systems we currently use.

Why might this be important to consider, understand, and become familiar with?

Good question. It is important to consider and understand, because this understanding can help leaders create bridges for people. The familiarity of which can create a bridge for your team and move you from concept into execution. Let’s take a look how.

Learning

It’s important for everyone to have access to developmental opportunities. To learn and to grow. Important. Knowing this, how do you suppose you create these opportunities? While larger organizations typically have a model for training staff, it does not always follow that everyone in the organization has the same access to developmental opportunities. Hm.

What to do, then, when your business or organization does not offer training, or those training programs are limited in some way, or designated for only mid-level and executive employees?

Create them from within

As a leader, you can create opportunities for your team to develop and grow. How? Find out what each person’s strengths and weaknesses are, always starting with yourself first, and then find ways to engage them with new concepts and tools to stretch them, and help them grow.

For instance, we created an opportunity in our second year as a team to develop strategic thinking skills, which included several training days. The culmination of which was deploying a system for organizing our daily work and balancing strategy. The need was there, and we moved it forward, and so can you.

Here are some considerations on how to get started.
  • Define the need – here are some questions to assist your thinking.
    • Where is the gap?
    • What training is needed to fill the gap?
    • Who will facilitate the training?
    • When will you implement the training?
    • How will you evaluate the training’s effectiveness?
    • What is the return on investment of the training?
  • Create a training plan with internal or external training professionals – here are some questions to consider.
    • What is the training goal?
    • How will you know when you’ve met your goal?
    • What does post-training traction look like?
    • What metrics will you use to measure traction?
  • Implement – communicate about the training, create buy-in with staff, and implement.
  • Evaluate – make sure you have traction.
  • Repeat – we created a system of training once a quarter. Worked well.
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Adjustment

With any learning process, there is a period of time that people need to adjust to their new workflow reality. How can you assist staff in making these necessary adjustments?

Here are a few ideas.

  • Create a post-training system to ensure that you have traction – the system should at the very least include:
    • Post-training follow up – what did you and the team learn, and how will you move the new concepts and tools forward.
    • Periodic staff check-in’s – I’ve always used one-with-ones to ensure that staff have the support they need, and are adjusting well to their new workflow reality.
    • Measure your movement – create a way to measure your post-training progress. This might be quantitative metrics, such as increases in revenue, or it may be qualitative, such as increased workflow effectiveness.
  • Continue to follow-up – to really gain traction, the new concepts and tools must be incorporated into everyone’s daily work, including yours. There really is no other way. If this does not happen, the new concepts and tools you are implementing will lack traction.
  • Create consistency – once you have movement, start talking with the leadership team about the next training. Be consistent, and offer training opportunities at a regular drumbeat, so staff can count on, and expect them.
  • Monitor progress – continue to check in with staff on their progress. Monitor traction. You may find that after three months, the team needs a refresher on a topic you’ve already covered. That’s okay. What really matters is that you’ve created access for your team to develop and grow; and that you will remain committed to doing so, refreshers and all.
Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash

Integrate

Once the team has adjusted to their new reality, which includes new concepts and tools, you will need to devise individual development plans. These plans will ensure that each staff integrates the new concepts and tools into their current workflow in a way that suits their learning style, which will increase retention, mastery, and traction.

Where to start?

As was aforementioned, I’ve used one-with-one’s often in my professional career. I find that they work well to create plans tailored to the individual. These plans can also be used to track progress and as a coaching tool.

The most important thing about integration, is that all staff actively integrate the new concepts and tools into their daily workflow. You are building healthy habits in this regard. Really. People like habits, and once you have created that habituation within yourself, a must, you can deploy that to the team.

Here are a few examples.
  • Whiteboards – some people are very visual, and literally need to see the work drawn or sketched out. I’m like that. If you have staff that are visual, do whiteboard work with them, so they can see the new concepts and tools inside of their current workflow. Important.
  • Post-its – funny. I always say it matters less how you organize yourself, than it does that you develop a system that works for you. And, if post-its work for you, like they do me, use them. Again, what matters is that the staff member can feel a level of comfort with the new concepts and tools, inside of a system they’ve already developed.
  • Calendars – a good way to organize by setting reminders for new tasks. For instance, after we completed a strategic thinking training day last year, I had every staff member add one hour per week of strategic thinking to their calendars.
  • Project Management Systems – we’ve been using a project management system for over a year now. Works for some on the team, and not as much for others. Yet, having a systematized way to move larger projects forward is important. I’ve found this addition helpful, and a contributor to the team’s overall traction.
Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash

Reflect

We all need time to process new information, time to reflect. I advocate for giving your staff the same consideration you give yourself, especially when incorporating new concepts and tools into their daily work. You need it as a leader, and so do they. We all do.

How do you incorporate reflection time into the day?

If you use reflection often as a daily strategy this will be simpler. If you do not, there may be a stretch here for you, however, I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor. We are all inundated with constant stimuli, and the need to take a break from that stimuli to really get clear on our work is necessary and needed.

Here are a few strategies you can try.
  • Build that time in for yourself first – the only way to create traction with anything, is to create it for yourself first. Once you have a system down, you can coach and guide people into it. If you are not familiar with reflection time, add 30-minute reflection times into your daily calendar. Try it a couple times a week, with a goal to have it worked into your calendar daily.
  • Coach the team on taking the same time – once you’ve practiced taking reflection time for yourself, you can advise the team on doing the same thing. Have them build it in similarly. A day or two a week to start, with the goal of having daily reflection time.
  • Create reflection time after meetings and one-with-one’s – another strategy that we employ is taking time to reflect upon decisions. As you practice this strategy, you will come to see, as we have, that many decisions do not need to be made quickly. You have time. Take it, and use it wisely to reflect and engage with yourself and your team on the best course of action.
Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash

Formalize

Once you have strategies in place to incorporate new learning, integration, adjustment, and reflection time into everyone’s workflow, you can start to make plans to formalize these new processes and systems. Simply meaning that to build these healthy work habits, and to have them stick, they must be practiced daily; and they need to be documented.

As we’ve discussed, people all learn differently, so create a few different ways to engage with the team, which will ensure you maintain traction on the aforementioned learning strategies. The main way we move projects of this size forward is to input them into our project management software, which has worked pretty well.

Again, what you use to formalize and document a new system or process, of which learning and development are two, matters less than you taking the time to create a learning and development plan for yourself, each team member, and the overall team.

I think you will find that the payoff in terms of work efficiency, overall team moral, and team cohesion will increase as you continue to create opportunities for people to learn new things, and to develop themselves at work. And, once that is accomplished, you and your team will be ready to move from concept to execution, and into the traction zone.

Be well, and lead well.

#businesstraining, #creative-process, #creativity, #developinghighqualityrelationships, #developingourselves, #developingprocessesandsystems, #developingresilience, #developingteams, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #experientiallearning, #individual-learning, #individualtraning, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershippractice, #leadershipprinciples, #learning, #learning-and-engagement, #professionaldevelopment, #team, #teambuilding, #teamdevelopment, #teamtraining, #training

Creating Movement in Your Team, Business, or Organization: 3 Steps in 3 Minutes

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jon-davey-0jbfvxvolwk-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Jon Davey on Unsplash

I recently wrote 3 Steps and 9 Keys to Creating Safety on a Team in 5 Minutes, and today, I’m going to focus on creating movement. Have you ever felt stuck? Like you and your team, business, or organization are not moving, have not, maybe, moved in some time. Instead, you find that each day seems the same. A reproduction of the previous? Happens to us all.

Let’s take a look at 3 steps you can take to get moving again.

Step 1: Create Time

We are all inundated with email, all day long. In the first year in my current position, I checked email often; and, there were times when I was more focused on keeping my email in check than doing my actual job. However, email is not the job; it is a tool, nothing more.

3 suggestions for creating time by managing email

  • Check periodically – morning, afternoon, and before close of business. Set this time aside. Add it to your calendar if needed. However, when you are not in your “check email time”, leave it alone.
  • Prioritize the need – sounds funny, yet prioritizing your email is very important. Often, I get emails that I might not respond to for several days. Why? It’s not needed. Not every email needs a response right away, and some never need a response.
  • Organize as needed – in the past three years, I’ve reorganized my email countless times. As the business changes, your calendar will change, and so should how you organize your email. Reorganizing your email so that it mirrors the current iteration of your team, business, or organization will save you the time of searching endlessly for emails to follow up on.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Step 2: Create Balance

I’ve found that finding time to work on the business (strategic thinking), instead of in the business (the weeds) is one of the hardest skills to develop. Why? Because we live in a reactive society, and work within reactive organizations.

Though you are working very hard, if you continue to work hard mostly on day-to-day operations, you will not spend the time needed on creating future plans, goals, and objectives. You will stay stuck. You must create the time to strategically think about the direction of your team, business, or organization.

3 strategies for balancing the weeds and strategic thinking

  • Manage time – I’ve used multiple different time management systems in the past three years; and, what I’ve come to realize is that continuing to change how you organize yourself is okay, even needed. If the way you are organizing yourself today is not working, let it go, and try something new.
  • Delegate – I’m one of those people who likes to do everything, and I have a hard time asking for help. Yet, letting your team assist you is necessary and needed. Delegating work is always essential, and is even more essential to ensure you have the time you need to create strategy.
  • Slow down – I love to be in action. Simple. Yet, there are times when you need to slow down. Let some of the day-to-day operations wait, so you can just sit and think about your team, business, or organization’s trajectory; and, what you want to create as its next step.
Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

Step 3: Create Strategy

Once you’ve created more time, and have more balance, you can now effectively work on the business. Very important.

3 strategies for creating strategy and gaining traction

  • Get your ideas out – often we think about what we want to create, yet we are so busy doing other things, that we don’t get these ideas out; and, when our ideas stay within us, we cannot use them. Write them down, put them on a whiteboard, put them in a document. It matters less how you get them out, than it does that you do so, and have the time to reflect upon them.
  • Invite considerations – collaborative teams and organizations talk about strategy. If you are on that kind of team, or in that kind of business or organization, invite people to consider your ideas. What do they think? Incorporate the best ideas into your ideas. If you work on a team, or in a business or organization that does not collaborate, invite people to consider your ideas anyway. Create collaboration.
  • Create an action plan – once your ideas are out, you’ve invited feedback, and have had time to reflect, it’s time to create an action plan. I always work backwards. Meaning, if you are creating a strategy for next year, work those goals backward to each quarter, month, and week, and create objectives that align with the yearly goals.
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

With your new action plan, you can begin to create the traction you’ve been looking for. Remember, you are not alone. Most teams and organizations are in the same place. They feel stuck. That you are aware of it, is the first step. Now you can mobilize the steps outlined here, and create movement for your team, business, or organization.

Also remember, that sometimes your team, business, or organization may have to move “backward” to once again move “forward.” I’m not a fan of labeling movement, because all movement is important and needed.

For instance, COVID-19 has created a “backward” momentum for teams, businesses, and organizations all across the globe. Now what matters most? Not being concerned about moving backward. Instead, create from where you are, and you will move forward.

#acitonplans, #brainstorming, #collaboration, #createstrategy, #creatingactionplans, #creatingbalance, #creatingmovement, #creatingtime, #delgation, #development, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #managingemail, #managingtime, #organization, #prioritization, #slowingdown, #strategicplanning, #strategicthinking, #teambuilding

Leadership in Practice Series Part 2: Creating 90-Day Priorities Inside of a 10-Year Vision

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is matt-noble-bptmnn9jsmq-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

Once your vision is created, then what? Regardless of whether it is a 10-year, 5-year, or 3-year vision, you will need to put plans in place that will connect the daily work to that vision. That is how your 10-year vision will become a reality.

What, then, are the first steps to ensure that your weekly, monthly, and quarterly work connects to the long-term vision?

In this article we will walk through the process we went through to connect the 10-year vision to our 90-day priorities. First, another question.

Where does a leader start when they want to ensure that everyone’s daily work on the team, or in the business or organization they belong to is contributing to the long-term goals?

Let’s take a look.

Start with the 10-year Vision and ask yourself a couple of questions.

  • What are the goals of the 10-year vision?
  • What are the metrics of the 5-year plan?
  • What will the current year look like?

Let’s look at each question, one at a time.

What are the goals of the 10-year vision?

Once the vision is created, it’s time to create the goals that will drive all of the work. However, before you move on to creating those goals, which will drive the objectives and priorities, ask yourself what your vision will look like in reality.

What will the revenue and service look like, what will the staffing model look like, will you add positions between now and then?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, or ones that are more important to your particular vision, start to build out what that vision will look like in reality. Here is an example, vision first, then what it will look like in reality.

Here is the vision

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2774.png

Here is what it will look like

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2775.png
Note that the word profit in this instance is referring to department reinvestment funds.

Once you’ve created the 10-year vision, and also know what it will look like, you are ready to work backward. When I went through this exercise last year, I started this part of the planning session with year 5. I looked at the previously designated metrics and asked myself what they would look like in reality. For instance, what would revenue look like, and how many people would we serve.

What are the metrics of the 5-year plan?

Here is what that looked like

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2777.png

It is a wonderful exercise to start with the larger 10-year vision and to work backward to the 5-year plan, creating more clarity as you go. It is how you begin to connect the 10-year vision with the work you need to do today.

Once you’ve worked backward to year 5, you are ready to work backward once again to year 3, or whatever the current year is for your team, business, or organization. It is important to continue to get clearer on what the future reality will look like.

What will the current year look like?

Year 3 Department Objectives

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2780.png

As you continue to work backward from the 10-year vision to year 5, to the current year you are planning for, in this example, year 3, the objectives that will lead the team to that 10-year vision do become more clear. Important.

And, as these objectives become more clear, so will the priorities that will drive each person’s work. For instance, in our year 3, we had 1-year objectives, which we executed on in 90-day chunks. Meaning that we focused on moving forward our yearly objectives with 90-day priorities that would shift as needed, yet the objectives would remain the same.

Year 3 Staff Objectives

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2776-1.png

Once you get to 90-day priorities, it is time to create a coaching model that will mirror all of the aforementioned. Fully discussing this coaching model is for another article, yet I would like to share with you the simple template we created, so you can see how a 10-year vision can connect to a staff member’s daily work.

Coaching Model Template

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img-2782.png

Though you can only see a portion of the form, you can see the overall process, where the yearly objectives (on the left) are connected to the department objectives (on the left in bold), while the specific priorities and actions to move that work forward are on the right. Fun.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the following article, One BHAG, Two BHAG, and Creating a Disruption Vision, in which we discussed the possibility of creating a disruption vision or BHAG inside of a 10-year vision. And now, the planning process we’ve walked through in this article is being recreated. The difference?

Because there is so much change right now, we have a 1-year BHAG, which lives inside of the 10-year vision, and 30-day priorities, instead of 90. I am in the process right now of re-instituting one-with-ones so that we can discuss, plan, and create our next actions one month at a time. Allowing us the pivotability, and flexibility needed.

Very well. There you have an example, with tools, on how you can connect your team, business, or organizations’ 10-year vision to the work that needs to be done daily to ensure that the 10-year vision will live in reality.

Be well, and lead well.

You can reach Jeff Flesch at fleschj@linnbenton.edu

Originally published on servantleadershipcoaching.com

#10-yearvision, #creating90-daypriorities, #creatingavision, #developmentandgrowth, #goalsetting, #howtocreatevision, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipinpractice, #long-termvision, #strategicplanning, #strategicthinking, #strategy, #team, #teambuilding, #vision, #visionandstrategy