I recently heard Charles Duhigg, author of the best seller The Power of Habit, speak about the science behind his book. It’s really fascinating how our brains work, and how we can use his work to create healthier habits for ourselves and for our teams. We all know that change is hard, and changing behaviors that have become automatic (aka habits) is even harder.
How many leaders think about themselves as corporate athletes? How many of us spend time sharpening our saw, as Stephen Covey taught? How many expect our teams to deliver high performance?
If we want to be highly successful and productive, we have to be intentional about how we go about achieving peak performance and creating the right environment for our teams to perform at the top of their potential. Whether it is taking care of our physical bodies by getting enough sleep, exercise, and good nutrition; staying mentally sharp and smart; practicing stress management and team building; or keeping ahead of the competition by innovating, eliminating waste, or expanding into new products or markets, there are many paths to achieve peak performance.
Most leaders intellectually understand the importance of creating an empowered team. They can see the upside of being called upon less frequently to put out fires for others and the connection between empowerment and accountability and between employee engagement and productivity. According to an article in Forbes, "Employees who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement at the 24th percentile, whereas those with a high level of empowerment were at the 79th percentile.” Those empowered employees also reported significantly higher discretionary effort; "only 4% of employees are willing to give extra effort when empowerment is low but 67% as willing when empowerment is high.” Most leaders agree empowering the team is important.
At Rhythm Systems, I have had the opportunity to work on several exciting cross-functional projects to help our company move forward. I’ve been part of the team that built our Certification program, part of a team that evaluated, selected and implemented a new CRM, part of the team that’s wrote our best selling business book, Predictable Results, to name just a few. While juggling these growth priorities with my day job can be challenging, these projects typically bear amazing fruit and deepen my relationships with coworkers in other departments. I view them as a way to challenge myself, improve my current skills, and develop in new areas. Based on my own positive experiences with cross-departmental teamwork, I was surprised to read the results of Behnam Tarbrizi’s study in the Harvard Business Review: “75% of Cross-Functional Teams are Dysfunctional.”
Goal setting is both a skill and an art. Whether you are new to the goal-setting game, or a seasoned pro, there is always room for improvement.
When writing goals, use these 5 steps to drive better results.
Step 1: Write your goal and keep it simple
Start by writing your goal in a clear, action-oriented way. It should start with a verb and state exactly what you are going to do and by when. Let’s start with one example and work it through the 5 steps.
Example Goal: Hire and train 20 new sales reps by end of September
At Rhythm Systems, we are all about helping companies and teams achieve their dreams and goals.
We have the right systems and skills to help them remain focused, aligned and accountable to getting things done. Developing accountable leaders and teams is a big piece of the puzzle for companies that want to consistently achieve their growth goals. You can be lucky for a while, but for sustained, predictable success, you need the right people operating off the right playbook.
This time of year, I start getting a lot of vacation out of office messages. It’s harder to schedule meetings with most clients, and you can forget meetings with clients in Europe. The parking lot of our office building empties out around lunchtime most Fridays. The traffic lightens up a little bit. You can feel it in the humid, hot air - it’s summer time. Maybe it’s a holdover from the carefree summers of our youth, but summertime usually brings more than just popsicles and pool parties - it also brings the urge to let up the gas and drop items off the to-do list.
In a study by McKinsey & Company, management development at all levels has been ranked as a #1 priority by 500 executives, and organizations throughout the U.S. are spending approximately $14 billion annually on leadership training. The expense of a custom-designed leadership development program can be very costly. The question, then, becomes: Does developing these leaders (executive-level, division heads, and emerging leaders) have a payoff?
The answer is: Yes…if…
Yes if...your leadership development efforts are designed appropriately. All too often, companies simply delegate the development of a leadership program to their HR professionals. While this is good, it’s a tactical check-mark that “we’re doing that leadership development thing.” What your high-level directors of talent and culture need is your support to do it right.
In an effort to Keep Smart — which is one of our Core Values here at Rhythm Systems — I recently attended a workshop on "Personal Productivity Essentials" to get some new tips and perspectives from Austin Bristow.
Austin talked a lot about personal discipline, and although "discipline" is a word with some negative connotations, it really should be seen as a process that gives you more freedom—freedom to focus on the things you want to do, freedom to maximize your time, freedom to say "no," etc.
Managing the daily, weekly, and monthly workload is a challenge for team members and leaders alike, but in very different ways. Teams have their KPIs and know what tasks they need to complete in order to achieve those goals. Team leaders and managers have the added tasks around team goals, team KPIs, other issues and other team projects that round out their to-do lists. The difference is that leaders have people to delegate to on their team that can complete the task.