The best leaders I have met have a systematic way of consistently achieving their goals. Over the years, I have come across a lot of different planning and execution tools.
One tool that I consistently use is something called the leadership wheel. Baking the steps into a list of habits that you consistently execute leads to staggering results. Just like compounding interest does wonders on financial investments, compounding actions leads to compounded results.
The leadership wheel looks something like this:
Step 1: Set the direction
First, you decide on the outcome you are looking for. This is easier said than done. Deciding on the the outcome that will return the highest value per time spent can be difficult task. This is where strategic thinking comes into play. Knowing your business and your customers’ needs are essential.
Step 2: Align the team and set accountability
Step 2 is about aligning the team on the goal. Everyone on your team should be able to tell you what the goal is, why, and the steps they are responsible for. If they can’t, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle of resistance and ignorance.
Build a system that you can consistently use to get this done. Having a system in place that effectively communicates the goal and the plans to get there will make achieving your current and future goals significantly easier.
We must also set accountability here by asking “Who will do what by when?”. No one walks away without knowing their actions and deadlines. Collaboration is key here.
Step 3: Execute
Here, the team executes on the agreed upon actions in step two.
There are a lot of ways to drive execution. The Ivy Lee method is a great way to ensure the right actions are being prioritized on a daily basis.
Priming your team’s environment for successful execution is important here. Make it easy for your team to do the right things by ensuring they are well-equipped. If you expect them to split a rock but don’t give them a hammer and chisel, don’t be surprised when it isn’t done.
Step 4: Provide feedback
The best managers and leaders talk about performance. Plain and simple.
Without this important step, it’s easy for plans to result in nothing. If people aren’t getting feedback on their performance around the agreed upon priority, it sends the message that it is NOT a priority.
This is the time to give feedback around the actions set in step 2 (Align the team and set accountability). Did the person do what they needed to do by the agreed upon deadline? If yes, provide positive feedback. If not, provide constructive feedback.
Optimizing Your Wheel
In my experience, many business operate on a monthly or quarterly basis when it comes to executing plans. After providing feedback in step 4, you return to step 1 to reassess the direction you set. For multi-week plans, it’s good practice to reassess on a weekly basis since we all know that things don’t always go according to plan. Any change in actions due to obstacles or new information must be communicated, step 2, and the team must continue to execute, step 3. As long as you’ve provided the feedback and realigned the team, execution will build upon itself from week to week, ultimately bringing you closer to your set goal.
I’ve said a lot of things: decide on the outcome, give feedback, align the team, build a system, accountability, etc. I’ll elaborate on those in future posts. Until then, thanks for reading.