Several years ago my wife and I went to see the Cirque du Soleil show “O” in Las Vegas.
As you may well know, Cirque du Soleil is a dramatic mix of high-quality, artistic circus acts and street entertainment.
Also, a few years ago, I took my oldest grandson to a traditional circus show passing through our hometown.
What picture comes to mind first when I ask you to tell me what you think when I say the word, circus?
Do you picture the elephants, or the clowns, or the trapeze, or the lions or even cotton candy?
Insight: Two people can describe a word or concept in vastly different ways because of their different life perspectives.
Are you a manager or a leader?
Isn’t it interesting that we bring to our workplace a diversity of perspectives because of different life experiences and backgrounds, talent and skills, personalities and priorities, and our bent/leaning toward either managing or leading?
What is your bent/leaning? Is it managing or leading? You can find out now!
What is the goal?
Empowering leaders as well as highly-motivated employees who form a high-performance team and who have a “can-do” spirit will continually revisit two questions:
- What is our goal?
- Are we making progress?
They ask these questions about their long-term strategies, about their tactical efforts, about each meeting they attend, and about such process-oriented matters as their approaches to communication, coordination, and cooperation.
Vagueness in goals
However, what picture comes to mind first when I ask you to tell me what you think when I say the word, goal or goals?
Often when I ask that question in one-on-one sessions with the leader and with each member of their leadership team, I usually receive different answers.
Also as often, the leadership team is not even clear as to what the goal is. WOW!
And normally it can be traced to vagueness.
When the answers are diverse among the leader and their leadership team, there is bound to be even greater uncertainty at lower levels in an organization and for sure for employees on the front-line.
Can people work together as an effective team if they don’t have a clear picture of the team’s goals?
How can they maximize their feelings of achievement if they don’t have pre-determined goals – the achievement of which is the definition of success?
Every leader can achieve success from a high-performance team by clarifying and communicating goals.
First, it is the leader’s responsibility to effectively communicate the organization’s values (Who are we?) and purpose (Why do we exist?) of which neither ever change.
Establishing and clarifying your values and purpose facilitates planning, setting priorities, and decision-making at all levels within the organization.
And it creates the opportunity for your people to feel the achievement of fulfilling the organization’s values and purpose.
What is and what is not a goal?
Second, how do you define the word, goal?
Since your people come to work with such a diverse perspective and when you say the word, goal, they may think of their own personal goals outside of work that they want to accomplish.
However in an organization, it is the leader’s responsibility to clarify and communicate what a goal is.
Often I find in an organization the word, goal, is used loosely to mean different things to different people at different times and under different circumstances. Vagueness!
In my company as the leader, I was very intentional to clarify and clearly communicate not only our values and our purpose, but also, the difference between what was our vision, and our strategic and tactical plans versus what were our measurable performance goals.
- Where do we want to be?
- Our overarching future direction/dream
- Can change over time
- What do we want to accomplish?
- Our general approach or plan to achieve objective(s), our beacon
- Begins with the desired-end, the objective(s), and works backward to the current status.
- How can we to get there?
- When do we want to arrive?
- Who can make it happen on schedule?
- Begins with current status and lays down a path of action steps for implementing strategies.
Measurable performance goals
- Activity targets
- With numeric and timeliness measures of success
Leading AND Managing
Observation: Usually the leader’s bent/leaning is to focus on the vision and strategic plans. Whereas the manager’s bent/leaning is to focus on the tactical plans and measurable performance goals.
Leadership is not better than management. It is a different function than management.
Great leaders need great managers to maximize their potential.
Leaders and managers make great teammates. They need each other.
Leaders without managers cannot keep what they grow, and managers without leaders cannot grow what they keep!
As the leader, what is the goal? And are you making progress? Please share your comments <here> and share this blog post with a friend and co-worker.