driving into the wall

Not long ago, I had a coaching call with a senior leader of an organization I have been working with for a couple years. The company has turned some major corners, overcome big obstacles, transitioned to having the right people in the right seats, and turned their bottom line around. In other words, things are running well. It’s great, but it could be better.

This team has done a great job coming together with one voice and one vision. They are accountable and are actively using the tools we discussed during our sessions, which help to create clarity, expectations, accountability, and processes for communications. The act of implementing these tools throughout the entire company on its own has tremendous value. 

However, there’s more.

Perhaps I am more observant or receptive to ideas these days, but I’ve seen many of successful teams unknowingly hit an invisible wall; it’s more of a nuance than a hard limitation, but a big one, to say the least.

In most cases, the teams with which I work are implementing the tools I suggest, and they’re seeing immediate results and the value of the associated tools. I know they will buy into the value of implementing the tools, even if poorly to start. Consistently, the results increase their accountability and communication.

This process starts with the leadership team. Over several months, these tools take hold and the team becomes better at utilizing them. Typically, over the next year or two, we intentionally and systematically rollout these tools to the rest of the organization. In time, the entire organization gets better and better at using them and executing them.

Here’s where the nuanced opportunity comes up. In most of these cases, the people who are rolling out the tools focus solely on the mechanics of implementing the tools, such as the structure of a meeting or the writing of a Quarterly Objective. I believe this is the right way to do it, and that eventually, it will become engrained in the culture of the organization. The opportunity is this: At a certain point, everyone needs to revisit the “why,” or the intention of the tool, to ensure it’s working in a way that is truly bringing value, and not just doing the process for the sake of it.

When I hear of someone not wanting to do their prescribed weekly meeting or if they feel that filling out their weekly KPIs is a waste of time, alarm bells go off in my head. If the team has reached a point that the processes are engrained within the organization and people are still resistant, there’s likely an underlying “why” issue. 

The intention of a weekly meeting is never focused on wasting time or having another meeting just to have one. I dislike most meetings, but I love great meetings. A great meeting focuses on three things: communication, accountability, and problem solving. Every team on the planet should find value in a weekly meeting like this. With that in mind, if a team is feeling like the meeting is not of value, I would argue that something else is amiss. When appropriately rolled out, all the tools I suggest should provide value and be appreciated by those using them.

If you are familiar and comfortable with the mechanics of using the tools, but feel the outcome is not what you are looking for, take a second to stop, review, and consider the intention of that particular tool. Think about why you’re using this tool and the outcome(s) you’re looking to achieve.

If it’s a meeting, it should include:

  • Communication
  • Accountability
  • Problem solving

If it’s a functional, organizational, or accountability chart, it should include:

  • Clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • Distinct areas of hand-off
  • Clear and open lines of communication and accountability

If it involves a rock or Quarterly Objective, it should include:

  • Clear steps towards a mutually agreed-upon and valued objective
  • An explicit understanding of who is accountable for the objective
  • A defined timeline to achieve the objective

In any of the above examples, if you feel you’re only going through the motions of a tool’s mechanics, reflect on why you’re using that tool in the first place. What is the purpose or objective?

The mechanics of many tools work rather well and provide value. Keep in mind there’s an even greater level of value that can be achieved when you stop and remind yourself why you’re doing this.

Does your organization need more tools in its bag? Would you like to learn how to amplify your team’s accountability, communication, or objective setting? We can help with that! Reach out to us today for a no-obligation consultation.

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