The Path To Performance: Part 2

Last week we talked about how endurance athletes create a path to performance and linked that to organizational life. This week we review what steps successful leaders take to create a path to performance with their direct reports.

Successful leaders create a path to performance with their direct reports/team members by:

Linking vision and mission with goals – Successful leaders make it easy for their direct reports as well as other employees to understand the vision and mission of the organization and their roles in the achievement of both. In working with many top organizations around the world, I have found that the most successful have a clear and compelling vision that is widely understood and committed to. The vision and mission are articulated in a manner that allows all employees throughout the organization to connect with and feel passionate about both.  Most importantly all employees are consistently engaged in discussions regarding the vision and mission and how their own work links to the achievement of both.

Holding people accountable for achieving goals – Successful leaders spend frequent time with their direct reports and teams discussing goal achievement.   They use techniques that energize and equip their employees with the right ability, knowledge, and motivation to achieve performance.

Developing a training plan to achieve goals – Successful leaders create tangible means to assess their direct reports’ or teams’ current performance against actual performance and create methods to help them improve in areas where necessary.  At least weekly the leader takes five to ten minutes to review each team’s performance (as well as that of each member on the teams) against desired performance.  To build strengths and improve performance, every month the leader meets individually with each team member to review what is working well and what can be handled more effectively in the future. To ensure that the meeting is positive with reciprocal interaction, the team member is engaged with the leader in a two-way dialogue throughout the meeting.

Knowing thyself and the team – Successful leaders model what they expect by having a performance plan for themselves and sharing that plan with their direct reports.  They consistently ask for feedback and admit when they are not meeting targets. They match their skills and weaknesses with team members to ensure the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time.  Lacking an awareness of team capabilities is a derailer.

Having a strong team – Successful leaders do whatever it takes to ensure a high-performance team is working with and for them. They are willing to have, and in fact seek out, people to work for them who are smarter, faster, more capable and motivated.  They also seek out direct reports and other team members who have strengths in areas in which the leaders may need support or assistance.

Demonstrating respect – Successful leaders treat others with respect at all times under all situations – no matter what, no matter where, no matter when!  Respect means listening, maintaining composure, keeping appointments with direct reports and others, providing coaching, being on time for meetings, sharing important information, and being of service to others.

Being prepared for the unexpected – Successful leaders take new information into account and change the plan when needed.  They avoid getting so stuck on their goals, mission, and vision that they lose sight of new realities.

Being Personally Accountable – Successful leaders hold themselves ultimately accountable for the success of the team.  They never blame others for their mistakes.


Are you doing what is required to create a path to performance?

How do you know?

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