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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moving from 'Survive to Thrive' in 2010

Here in December many organisations are closing out a challenging year.

While the stock market has bounced back off its low for the year, economic and organisational growth is still hard to come by. Speaking with business leaders across a wide spectrum of industries one major question seems to resonate broadly: Now that we’ve survived in this tough environment, how do we return our focus to thriving?

Leaders and mangers have learned a lifetime worth of lessons about how to do more with less; leaders and organisational members have learned how to maintain competitive and financial positioning during adversity.

Setting goals on survival was necessary, but it will not suffice going forward from here. Business leaders who don’t begin to focus on how to thrive in the new economic reality simply won’t. Worse, survival strategies get shakier the longer the need to engage in them.

So as you complete your annual organisational goal-setting practice, how should you recalibrate your focus? How do you create a way up and onward, and motivate your team or organisation to get there? Here is a short list of practices that will help you set goals that align with a new, more positive and thriving-focused organisation.

Frame your goals positively.

Your team or organisation will focus on what you put in front of them. Create goal statements which include positive phrases rather than negative ones. For example, if an organisation had 100 new sales contracts last year, and this year will be tougher, your team may work harder to close 95 new sales contracts than to keep sales within 5-10 percent of last year’s production.

Always create a goal structure which emphasises what you do want, rather than limiting what you don’t.

Maintain a present and future outlook.

As a rule of thumb, comparison goals are difficult to use to motivate team members when faced with such an environment. Goals which relate to a percentage of growth or decline over a previous year keep the team focused on what happened last year, rather than what will happen this year.

Create goal statements that orient your team on the present and what is to come in the future.

Goals need to be specific and measurable.

Broadly defined goals tend to become abstract in the execution. Think about what the outcome of each goal will achieve and how specifically progress can be measured during the year. Whenever your team reaches a milestone metric, recognise and celebrate the progress.

Over-communicate goals and progress.

Once you have a goal statement that is positive, present and future oriented, specific and measurable, you have a great leadership opportunity. Remember the statement that teams and organisations focus on what is in front of them. Keep your goals in front of your organisational members.

If the goal is presented in this positive manner, over communicating it is a good thing. It emphasises where you are going - not where you have been.

Leaders who excel in this type of goal setting don’t end their work when the goal statement is written. These statements become the language of leadership in the coming year. Help your team understand how their individual roles relate to the organisational goals. Help them see how the tasks that they are assigned support the team in realising those goals.

Create an organisational focus on thriving in 2010 rather than surviving. Doing so will require some new thinking, innovation, and committed persistence. Having learned how to do more with less, use these creative building blocks to continue to enhance your team’s efficiency.

Positively framed goals and clear, consistent communication of these efforts will help you to lead your workgroup or organisation toward improvement and success in the coming year.

You have survived. Now take the opportunity to thrive. Engaging in a positive, purposeful leadership style will assist you in motivating your team and creating a resilient and focused organisation this coming year.

Leadership Resolutions for 2010

As we approach the end of the year, we all think about New Year’s resolutions. Here is a 12 point checklist on leadership:

Motivating yourself:

1.Keep a positive outlook. When you experience challenges, you’ll find optimism works wonders.

2.Believe in yourself. Guess what – there’s no-one else in the world like you!

3.Set yourself meaningful and achievable goals – keep measuring your success.

4.Develop and follow an action plan.

5.Find ways to enjoy what you’re doing.

6.Keep your enthusiasm levels high. Celebrate your successes / achievements.

7.Be kind to yourself. Self-criticism will lead you nowhere.

8.Move on from your mistakes. Learn from them and grow.

9.Avoid negative people. Know when to cut lose and move away. Surround yourself with successful, positive people.

10.Never stop learning.

11.Know that you will succeed!

12.Set yourself new challenges.

Motivating others / motivating your team:

1.Let your positive outlook be infectious. Spread it around.

2.Tell and show your team you believe in them.

3.Work to set meaningful, measurable and achievable goals.

4.Develop an action plan with them and help them stick to it.

5.Keep it fun for them.

6.Acknowledge and recognise their achievements, privately and publicly.

7.Never criticise. Instead, commend their achievements, make recommendations and lead by example.

8.Don’t worry about their mistakes. They need to make them. Your role is to help them learn by doing.

9.Overcome any negativity with action plans, tips, training and new ideas.

10.Show them, by example, how to duplicate themselves.

11.Keep dreams alive by constantly reinforcing the big picture.

12.Encourage them to keep setting challenges for themselves.