Are Leaders Too Focused On Outcomes And Not Enough on Execution?
Creating goals is easy. Measuring results after the fact is easy. Executing while continuing to engage is another story. And without the full engagement of those that execute these plans, it’s hard to achieve the success today’s complex business environments are seeking. Today’s leaders must become masters at engaging their teams and managing the activities that lead to the outcomes they want rather than focus exclusively on the outcomes. Lagging indicators and results are no longer sustainable measurement of success of failure. Effective outcome oriented leaders are highly organized, disciplined planners and optimizers of personal productivity. They focus the energy of their teams on successful execution, by setting realistic and achievable goals, by managing risks and removing obstacles. They run effective meetings that achieve the right results and they ascribe to the philosophy that the right people, right role, right time will always achieve the right results.
Outcome Leaders are Execution Masters. Relentless executors translate strategy and vision into operational plans to achieve the desired results. They drive execution of these plans through clear expectations, exceptional communication and leadership that engages employees and compels them to act. These leaders establish high performance standards and hold themselves and others accountable. They are masters at delegating responsibility and authority at the right levels of the organization. Relentless executors find ways to address challenges and remove obstacles to keep moving forward.
Outcome Leaders are Realistic Goal Setters. These leaders establish realistic goals and targets that are clear, measurable and achievable. They involve others to ensure these goals are aligned with the organization’s strategy and vision. These leaders are exceptional at optimizing the efforts of their teams and working with other business units to create synergy, reduce unnecessary work and streamline business processes. They identify potential risks and anticipate problems at the planning stages, so they can develop contingent plans.
Outcome Leaders are Process Reformers. Process reformers are never content with producing anything less than optimum results. The set expectations for quality outcomes by developing common, streamlined work processes that facilitate instead of encumber. They identify and examine core processes on a regular basis and identify areas of improvement. They research best practices, make use of process improvement methodologies and invite feedback from multiple stakeholders to analyze, evaluate and prioritize improvement efforts. These leaders are diligent in ensuring accessible documentation for core processes to facilitate the training of new employees and provide a reference for existing employees.
Outcome Leaders are Astute Financial Managers. Financially astute leaders are exemplary forecasters and use key financial metrics to track trends. They leverage the expertise and financial acumen of their corporate financial department to make well informed decisions to invest the company’s financial resources and excel by conducting “what if” analyses and developing contingency plans to ensure the profitability of new and existing product and services. These leaders understand the levers that pinpoint successful trends and troubling areas and use scorecards, performance checks and monitor progress to redirect efforts when goals are not being met. Astute leaders and understand the benefits of conducting post-audits to glean the lessons that can be applied to future endeavors.
Outcome Leaders are Meeting Masters. These leaders understand that meetings are critical to achieving goals and operations plans and they are role models for running effective meetings. They set clear, achievable agendas and expected outcomes. They identify the critical participants for each meeting to keep meetings short and focused for those in attendance. Their meetings are focused on sharing timely information, clarifying problems, inviting feedback, finding solutions and making informed decisions to achieve desired results. Meeting masters jointly set meeting agendas with participants to get the highest productivity and contribution. These leaders ensure follow-up on items that cannot be completed during the meeting and use meetings as learning and engaging environments for all participants.
Join me next time to explore a variety of opportunities for developing the leadership competencies today’s leaders need to excel.