How Far Down Do You Drill as Leaders?

leadersAs a coach of leaders and their teams, I am aware that something essential to effective performance isn’t regularly taking place.    I call it the “drill-down.”  I often get called by Founders, Presidents and CEO’s to help them improve in a variety of areas relevant to performance.  This is the heady stuff of strategy, visioning, metrics, etc.  It can include developing a clear vision for growing the company, aligning their direct reports to that vision, coordinating the action between the leadership team, and helping set and or shift the company culture so that it helps support the business’ growth.

However, the one area that is often neglected by leaders and teams is getting down to the granular level. 

I ask “for that goal to be reached, what is it that you need to be doing, daily, weekly monthly?”  What actions are required by you and your teams?  What behaviors must you regularly engage in if you are not doing so already?  What behaviors must you or your teams refrain from doing that are de-railers?

When I begin asking these questions, the “aha” moments bubble up.    It’s as if a missing puzzle piece has finally been located.  I observe that few leaders “drill down” to this level of specificity around goals.  Yet when goals aren’t being reached, it’s critical that leaders invite these conversations.

leadersRather than telling people what to do, we ask them to imagine what they themselves need to do. 

Then we invite them to express concerns, including any obstacles they foresee that could prevent them from taking action.    This allows team members to express reservations with colleagues, and commit in spite of these reservations.  What matters is that everyone has a chance to be heard, to weigh in and express convictions.  The leader then has the final say in decision-making if the team doesn’t unanimously agree on the course of action.

As one team leader told me recently “I often have so much going on I can get caught up.  It’s not easy to maintain the discipline.  This exercise was sobering; to remind myself that I could be holding myself back by not being specific enough on what needs to happen routinely.”

How many of us hear ourselves in those words? “I know where I need to go, but I’m not exactly following the map that will take me there. “

To learn more about creating consistent, sustainable performance in a healthy organization, I’d enjoy hearing from you.

In invite you to post your comments here.

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