Check in, Check up on Goals
Setting good goals is great. But this whole discipline is a wasted effort if you lack a system for consistently monitoring performance against your objectives. In fact, it’s an outright leadership mistake to set goals and then fail to revisit them regularly.
To the contrary, when goals are established they should remain a priority, get a lot of visibility, and align to both your overall company goals and strategies. To drive performance against your end targets, establish regular accountability meetings in which performance-tied goals get measured and reported.
What’s the best way to ensure you’ll achieve goals and succeed with your management system?
Start with accountability leadership. When companies use a system of metrics to measure and monitor goal performance, the rate of their performance improves. However, ownership of that system must first and always come from a disciplined leader who will commit to its implementation and management.
As outlined below in this comprehensive list of accountable leadership traits, this person must (among other things) lead for results, clearly communicate the status and results of the goals, be fair and consistent, confront difficult issues, and coach teams toward resolution and achievement.
Accountability Leader Checklist
1. Exemplify Accountable Leadership:
- Clearly communicate vision and expectations
- Rely upon performance of team
- Demonstrate confidence
- Inspect what you expect
- Encourages excellence
2. Define Performance Expectations:
- Standards of Performance
- Standards of Behavior (values)
- Performance levels for “A”, “B”, and “C” players
3. Create an Environment of Excellence:
- Align goals
- Execute standards in alignment with performance requirements
- Goals stated in terms of results vs. activity
- Measure and communicate results
- Remove fear of failure
- Encourage innovation and execution
- Encourage open, candid and direct communications without attacking the person
4. Evolve an ‘A’ Player Culture:
- Define employee performance on the “performance guide”
- Provide opportunities and coaching to build confidence and pride
- Be an empowering leader
- Require continuous personal development
5. Take Timely Appropriate Action:
- Require specific timelines for all goals
- Measure performance on regular basis
- Manage the accountability pendulum
- Require immediate corrective action plan for goals not accomplished
- Celebrate accomplishments
- Recognize individual contributions
- Follow-up on a timely basis
Implement the MAP Vital Factors process. When it comes to your company’s mission, what matters most? Answer that question and you’ve got a starting point for creating your Vital Factors, those critical measures of your business’s health. Align goals to your Vital Factors, foster ownership of those objectives among your team, and you’ll have the formula for a powerful process that will ignite and sustain productivity like never before. Then, most importantly, keep the system running by holding regular monthly Vital Factor meetings — continue to check in and check up!
Stay the course. You should expect resistance as you lead the implementation of this strategy. Resistance to change is normal and you should expect that people will struggle with this change. Keep the lines of communication open, reward the new desired behaviors, and celebrate “wins” as you see results. Your job as a leader is to stay the course and demonstrate “ownership” through what you say, what you do and what you reinforce. Over a period of time, your team will accept the change and it will become part of your work culture.
What are some great tips for minimizing the cultural impact of changes you implement?