In a recent global survey of executives, Dale Carnegie Training found that the top three “people” priorities today are:
- Leadership Development
- Leadership Continuity/Succession Planning
- Employee Engagement
The degree to which we can progress in these priorities depends on our ability to construct a system for cascading objectives and tracking progress.
If you’re like many in today’s work environment, you may rarely see the people who work for you. More and more of us team up virtually and work on separate projects, so we need a system for getting timely and clear answers to questions, like:
Can you get it done?
Will you do it well?
Are you all in?
Do you support my goals?
When the system is built on trust and transparency, the answers help you work together to map the person’s strengths to development experiences and their potential to future roles. If the system is viewed as mutually beneficial and ensures regular touch points, it will drive and clarify:
- Performance. Each team member should know their results compared to expectations. In “The 3 Signs of a Miserable Job,” Patrick Lencioni says that we engage in our work when we can measure it. Showing individual results helps bring to the surface areas for improvement and the readiness to take on roles with greater responsibility. In other words, “Can you get it done?”
- Behavior. Most leaders don’t subscribe to a Machiavellian approach to performance. We know that the means are often more important than the ends. We need to sustain performance, our health and our relationships. Understanding actions, skills and the perceptions of others will help us to coach and extrapolate potential for other challenges. In other words, “Will you do it well?”
- Engagement. Emotional connection to the organization and to the team drives commitment, quality and culture. Systems for tracking objectives and progress reveal engagement because they require engagement. Team members who hide from tracking objectives are either scared or apathetic. Either reveals development opportunities and succession potential. In other words, “Are you all in?”
- Alignment. Organizations need empowered and independent thinkers…within the framework of the organization’s goals. Structure brings freedom and innovation. Just like mastering an instrument allows us to improvise, commitment to organizational goals allows us to be entrepreneurial. In crew, each rower does his part by following the cadence of those ahead and modeling for those behind in the boat. In other words, “Do you support my goals?”
We can develop leaders, plan for succession and engage our team when we have a solid system for managing objectives.
What’s your system?