Military analogies are not always relevant to other areas of life. But one that does resonate is that of accomplishing a ‘mission’.
The key to reaching the goal is to make sure that somebody ‘owns’ the mission. They take full responsibility for delivering the goods. Such accountability is often avoided in organisations, which means that many tasks fall through the net.
Imagine you are a leader who wants several team members to work together to reach a specific goal. Here are three steps to making it happen.
1) You can communicate the mission.
Charles Garfield, the author of Peak Performers, stressed the importance of communicating ‘missions that motivate’. People are more likely to buy into achieving a goal if they can see the point.
Great leaders bring the mission to life by outlining:
* The ‘What’ – the specific goals to achieve.
* The ‘Why’ – the benefits of achieving the goals.
* The ‘How’ – the strategies for achieving the goals.
* The ‘When’ – the specific date for achieving the goal.
They then often ask for volunteers who want to take part – this is the ‘Who’. They believe that one volunteer is worth many conscripts.
Imagine you want volunteers for a specific mission, such as delivering a crucial project. How can you communicate it in a compelling yet realistic way? Try completing the following exercise.
2) You can make sure somebody owns the mission.
The message is simple: “If you want something accomplished, make sure that somebody’s ‘life’ – or mortgage – depends on getting it done.” Never give it to a committee or a group. You must have somebody who takes ownership for making it happen.
Different leaders have different ways of creating this dynamic. But these often take the form of encouraging somebody to volunteer for leading and delivering the mission.
You will provide all the required support, but you need one person who is accountable. Once they have stepped forward, focus on:
* Clarity – the agreed picture of success
* Contracting – the Dos and Don’ts involved in reaching the goals, plus the support they need to do the job.
* Concrete results – the short, medium and long-term results they will deliver by when.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Describe the specific things you can do to ensure that somebody takes real ownership for the mission.
Great leaders provide whatever support their people need to accomplish the mission. At the same time, they must ensure the person who is accountable also has the autonomy and authority required to do the job. This calls for a fine balancing act, but it is the only way that:
* The mission will get completed.
* The person accountable – and their team – will feel they have the freedom and power to do the job.
* The people will grow.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Describe the specific things you can do to ensure the person and, if appropriate, their team completes the mission. Making this happen will enable you to sleep easier at night and also help the whole team to develop. Try completing the following sentence.