With only 8% of people keeping their New Year’s resolution let us move past a broad desire for resolutions into key development and execution of business resolutions for 2019. Resolutions with commitment mean daily practice and accountability.
Craft the Resolution: Vision
Vision means the ability to see the organization’s ambitions in the near and long-term future serving as a clear guide to drive the organization. If the company has a vision, then recasting the vision is important to both keep it alive and to reenergize it at the first of the year.
A vision is crafted by leaders through the process of exploration, being bold, and testing their assumptions.
- Exploration is the process of taking time to identify an appropriate vision for the organization. Best practices suggest that leaders:
- Remain Open to the process of exploration and resisting the urge to seek closure too quickly. Some people are uncomfortable with the exploration process. Rather, they may be inclined to grab onto the first good idea and want to run with it.
- Prioritize the Big Picture by staying at the proverbial 30K foot level rather than getting into weeds of how to implement the vision. Getting into the weeds too soon may discourage people from wanting to move forward.
- Be Bold: The notion of a vision is to think about what could be—and this will stretch an organization. It takes being bold.
- The process of being bold implies being adventurous in our thinking. It’s about dreaming about what could be without boundaries. Being adventurous can be scary, because it takes outside of our comfort zone.
- Savvy leaders know they need to speak out about their vision. Think about leaders who have been willing to speak out about their grand vision. Some examples include Dr. Martin Luther King who had a dream and President J.F. Kennedy who wanted to put a man on the moon.
- Test Assumptions is to pause and think about the practicality of the vision.
- Wise leaders seek counsel. Who can provide input from outside the organization? Do not overlook the power of an outside voice. These voices can add a different perspective and insights.
- Take time to explore the vision in-depth. Ask questions like: What have we missed? What assumptions have we made that could be wrong? For those who are detail oriented this will come easier than prioritizing the big picture. As a result of counsel and an in-depth look at things, the vision may need to be fine-tuned.
Facilitate Excitement: Building Alignment
Building Alignment is defined as corporate linking of the employees’ personal goals with the organization’s goals. Consistency between every objective and plan right down to the incentives fosters employee alignment when there is:
- Clarity: As a leader, clearly and concisely explain the goals in multiple avenues. Try a written document, explaining at meetings, and creating posters to display the goals.
- Explain the rationale of why the organization is choosing to pursue this vision and the anticipated results. The “why” provides heart and passion to work towards the goals.
- Use structured messaging to make sure the most important points are consistently communicated.
- Dialogue: The exchange of perspectives and ideas through open communication.
- One of Covey’s seven habits is “seek to understand, then to be understood.” This back and forth exchange of perspectives helps leaders and followers to better understand each other’s perspective.
- Leaders need to be receptive to the ideas and perspectives of followers. It’s easier to bulldoze through, but this often results in resistance, not buy-in. Freedom to express ideas and offer suggestions in multi-layers of the company allow honest feedback and employee alignment.
- Inspiration: Adopting a new vision or goal can be hard work. Developing a sense of inspiration helps encourage followers to move forward.
- Be expressive about the new vision or goal. If you aren’t excited, then why should your followers be excited?
- Look for opportunities to be encouraging. The golden rule to inspire followers is the 5 to 1 ratio. The 5 to 1 ratio is five compliments and positive encouragement to one correction.
Develop Accountability: Execution
A leader must stay engaged to bring the vision to life. The challenge is to balance day-to-day operations by implementing the new vision. Both need your attention! Leaders cannot create and instill a vision and then move on. There must be a clear momentum and consistency from leadership to reach execution.
- Momentum: getting objectives moving to produce vision.
- Are you driven? Being driven is needed to develop momentum. As a young boy, I rode the train from my hometown to my grandparent’s. It was quite an adventure for a young lad. I can remember the train leaving a station. The wheels begin to turn—sometimes spinning trying to gain traction. Eventually, the line of passenger cars began to slowly move, and the train gained more momentum until it reached cruising speed.
- Continuing with my train analogy, in order for the train to move forward, the engineer was initiating action in the engine compartment. He was pulling levers and/or turning knobs that caused the big engine to begin the arduous task of getting the entire train rolling. As a leader, what are the most important actions you need to take? For example, keeping track of key milestones allows for practical assessment and celebration.
- Creating Structure: In order for those in the organization to successfully bring the vision to life, they need structure, such as policies, procedures, an understanding of your expectations, and resources.
- Provide a plan that will serve as a road map. How will each area of the organization act in ways that support the vision? What resources are needed? In what sequence will actions be initiated and by whom?
- Analyze the plan in-depth. Take time to analyze the plan. Get different perspectives by involving people at all levels of the organization. Not only will you get important perspectives, but people support what they help to create.
- Feedback: Look for the opportunity to give and receive feedback.
- Take time to address problems. With any change, not everything works out as expected. Sometimes processes need to be adjusted because the desired results are not being achieved. In other instances, some people may be resistive in ways that undermine initiatives. Addressing problems early-on makes it easier to keep progress moving forward.
- Change is hard, so continue to look for an opportunity to offer praise. When we can show progress and success people feel better about the process and it undermines the critics. Praise encourages the heart and fuels efforts to keep moving forward. Sincere, positive feedback
What are your business resolutions? What do you want to see happen in your organization in 2019?
Take time to start the groundwork to make your resolutions a reality using this outline as a guide. Some of these steps will come easier to you and your team than others.
This outline is based on the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders. Want to know where you are naturally inclined? If so, consider taking the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders…as authorized partners, we can set you and your team up to learn where you are naturally inclined and where you will need to expend more energy to be effective.
More information can also be found in the book Work of Leaders.
For the Faith-Based Reader:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Paul articulates the clear vision of God desiring unity and relationship with humankind through grace. He reiterated alignment with the clarity of the need to change from the darkness of worldly passions, the dialogue of the blessings and training God so freely gives, and inspiration of God’s sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The execution is carried through the people being unified as the body of Christ and the Holy Spirit teaching and reproofing us into the likeness of Christ the Redeemer.
 This process is based on Inscape Publishing’s, a Wiley Company, Everything DiSC Work of Leaders. Switzer Associates Leadership Solutions is an authorized partner.