You have probably heard of Stephen Covey’s second habit “Begin with the end in mind”. Yet, you may be one of the majority who do not always practice this maxim. Its importance has been impressed on me from all sides this week.
The professional development program in which I participated this week started with a small group effectiveness role play. My group – and many others – were so focused on getting the seemingly straight forward task completed that we dove into the work without checking to see that all group members were on the same page. Our results? Dismal! We learned a lesson the hard way and didn’t repeat that mistake again during the ensuing two days. In subsequent activities we took time to be clear on the objectives and how we would monitor and adjust progress towards the desired end. Not only did our productivity soar; our group rapport and each individual’s support of our results skyrocketed!
On a different vein, the business book I am currently reading focuses on the need for people to have a compelling vision of the work to be done and to be committed to the vision. They can then have a “Thank God it’s Monday” work attitude that builds a sustainable and growing business with very satisfied employees and customers.
To top of the week, both General Managers I met with this week are finding it difficult to serve their boards because the board members haven’t defined goals for the organizations. In one case, a clarifying motion the board passed at its August meeting was questioned at its September meeting. The board members admitted they weren’t committed to their August decision. In August the General Manager had promptly realigned the use of the organization’s resources only to be told in September that the board isn’t sure that is what it wants.
Success is preceded by “beginning with the end in mind”. I encourage you to be clear about the priorities for your organization, about your tasks for the next week, and about the desired results for your next 30 minute meeting. Gain buy-in from everyone that has a role in achieving the desired results. When everyone is on the same page, they can all use their energy in the same direction. The result? Rewarding, and perhaps unprecedented, levels of achievement!