Time to read: 2 minutes
Adapted from Seven Disciplines of a Leader
We have a greater need now to be highly effective through clear focus on purpose, centered on principles, and execution around priorities. If there is little agreement on purpose and direction, the culture is characterized by control, contention, and confusion. The reason for this tragic ineffectiveness is a lack of focus and execution.
Priorities. Focusing on priorities unleashes talent and energy and creates a culture where each person shares a common focus and executes around priorities. When change accelerates, formerly successful processes and practices don’t work. Nothing fails like past successes. Today everyone must have the same purpose, principles, and focus; they must know who they are, what they are trying to do, where they are trying go, why they need to get there, and how they will cooperate. It must be internalized. Leaders get people on the same page, executing around priorities, which releases talent and energy.
Planning. Set goals that lead. Well-defined goals are among the most effective tools available to any leader, yet most leaders don’t set goals that lead their people in the right direction. The purpose of this discipline is to produce clear and measurable annual goals. Pursuing these goals will lead people to align their daily activities with the few vital objectives set in the strategy. The result is a brief goals statement that every team member can support.
Execution. Work the plan. One of the best learning tools is the individual quarterly plan. In this discipline, every person works with the team leader to develop individual plans for the coming quarter. These goals are reviewed and aligned with company goals. This plan serves as a time-saving template for a weekly status report. Every person knows how to set goals, understand priorities, take responsibility for those goals, become accountable, report progress, and solve problems.
Let’s examine the previous three points in more detail. We put first things first; we’re proactive and responsible; we’re a product of our decisions, not our conditions; and we regularly renew our focus and execution.
You can replace ineffective habits of coasting, avoiding responsibility, taking the easy way out, and exercising little initiative or will-power with the discipline to focus on the important but not necessarily urgent matters of your life, thereby gaining leverage and influence. You go from victim to creative resource, from futility to hope, from having can’t and won’t power to being focused and having can and will power and the discipline to realize your top priorities.
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