Seems like the whole month of January is one big football game. I’m not complaining. It’s a great sport. This time of year, the stakes are high, as we approach the game of all games, the Super Bowl. The playoff teams are giving the games their best, with hopes of getting to the trophy.
Similarly, in this kickoff month of the year, leaders across the country are working on the plans that will help their teams play their best in hopes of getting a winning score among their competitors. In twelve months, they want to be able to say – we won the game of 2016.
If you want to be a Dare-to-Serve leader that delivers superior results in 2016, here are three action items for the month of January:
The first step is an objective, honest look at the past. What did your results look like in 2015 – was it a winning year, or did you struggle through the season? Whatever the outcome, now is the time to look at what happened and determine how the past will inform the future. Review your “game tapes” and learn what worked and what fell short. Share those observations with your team – and in one-on-one sessions, review each person’s personal contributions to the results. Now’s the time for candid feedback to everyone involved. But don’t just critique, celebrate. Find the positives that the team contributed and the wins, however small. A “thank you” is the best way to motivate your team to perform in the year ahead.
The second step is to put together your plan for the year ahead. What are the bold goals your team wants to accomplish – what is your daring destination? What are the vital few strategies you must execute to get to the goals? Where will you invest? What will you say “no” to?
When you have created your one-page 2016 roadmap to results, you are ready to set individual goals and deliverables for each person. Now is the time for setting clear expectations and determining the role each team member will play. As the leader, make sure you invest significant time with each team member defining what “great” performance would look like this year. This is your time to communicate the end that you have in mind. This is the time for each member of the team to commit to the results.
But don’t miss step three – establish the milestones that you must hit to execute the plan. This is the step we so often fail to complete. If you do not establish the milestones for each key initiative, you might set in motion a great plan, but fail to reach the desired results. Milestones are how you keep your team on track through the year – and hold people accountable for their piece of the project. Take the time to put all the key initiatives and their milestones on a master calendar. Check how the work is paced and sequenced across the year. Are there points of conflict or stress that need to be re-adjusted? A few hours of planning, with key dates applied to the calendar, could be the difference maker in your ability to deliver results.
The Dare-to-Serve leader has a courageous plan – yet the humility to know that he/she cannot get to the results alone. This is the time of year to serve your people well with a look back, a look forward and a set of milestones that will help you track towards success.
I totally agree that setting milestones help keep you on-track. I have been a student of servant leadership for many years now. The team in which you serve are set up to do their best when they know you care, by checking progress along the journey.
I have just finished reading the book “Dare to Serve” and found it to address America’s desperation for so many people who are working in jobs they are not happy doing on a day to day basis. Through Cheryl Bachelder’s intelligence and common sense we can become better leaders. I have been working for years on a performance management process which actually incorporated many of the value statements the book addresses. Along with what we are already doing in many schools we will begin to refine our training with the strength of the “Dare to Serve” discovery facts to consider.