5 Steps to Leadership Growth: #3 Plan

“What exactly is your plan?” I bet you hear that all of the time – as leaders we are constantly being pushed to concretely devise and deliver a step by step description of what we are going to do next.

Why is this important?

In the framework I use with leaders in their development, it’s the third step. As you grow in your leadership – honing your “Power of One,” this framework can help both you and those you are developing to stay on course:

1. Purpose
2. Perception
3. Plan
4. Performance
5. Perpetuation

We hear a lot about the importance of goal-setting, but most of us don’t have clear and measurable goals to work towards. Even fewer of us actually have those goals written down. Lewis Carroll says, “any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you are going,” but how important are goals really and if they are vital, how can we make them most effective? There was a fascinating study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program where graduate students were asked “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”  The result, only 3% had written goals and plans, 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing and 84% had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely mind-blowing.The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined! While this study only looks at earnings to quantify success, I still find it to be an extremely motivating example of why creating clear and measurable goals and writing them down is a key to success. Feeling motivated? Here are four steps to creating clear and measurable goals that will lead you to huge success.

Create a Vision

The first step to creating a goal is to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what you need to achieve to get there. This is actually the fun part. You get to dream. What do you really want to create for yourself? What does your ideal life look like? Don’t be afraid to think big. Take fifteen minutes and document your vision. Take note of the details. What does your day look like? Where are you living? Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it most effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day?

Source:  What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack

Helping Our Team Members Develop a Plan

Even if you don’t have a coach, you and your team members can get into the habit of having honest conversations about one another’s strengths and opportunities to improve. I often will suggest that leadership teams adopt the practice that Patrick Lencioni suggests in Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team. On a regular basis, the members of the team go around the table and ask one another, “What is one thing I am doing really well? What is one area in which I can improve that would really help the team?” And then everyone makes a commitment to take that feedback and apply the suggestions.

Of course, performance reviews are an excellent opportunity to get and provide feedback on a 6 – 12 month basis. But my advice is, don’t wait for that. Start asking the questions now from the people who know you well, and take their input to heart. Enjoy!