Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good Leadership by Defining Outcomes

We discussed before that all great leaders share their vision with the team. Why, so everyone knows where we are going and what we are striving for. So what's the intermediate step? Like all good projects the vision needs to be broken down into manageable parcels of work.

Now that we have spent some quality time and research understanding the various tasks the time has come for us to set our team onto achieving the vision - how? by completing the tasks aiding to the long-term completion of the project and attainment of the vision.

Consider the people in your team and decide who should take which portion of work, some members will be very obvious because the task matches their skill-set while other jobs may fall to several members of the team. Take care to ensure the load is balanced and look to see opportunities for people to extend their skills.

Now it comes to the people management portion of this task, don't take this lightly as much of the success in this will depend on how well you work with the people to talk them through the challenge and set their goals by defining the outcome you need. Many of us have seen the acronym SMART it's well known, it works and don't be afraid to use it.

Leadership is about talking to the people and explaining again your vision and piece in how this series of tasks will aid towards the fulfillment of the vision, then carefully work through defining the job and the outcomes, remembering:

  • Specific - give all the details, ideas hurdles etc about the task,
  • Measurable - what you expect to be the outcome, how it would look for a successful outcome and how that would differ from a poor outcome,
  • Attainable - agree between you that the person has the appropriate skills and support and the timeline is reasonable,
  • Realistic - be fair in your appraisal and agree on how realistic it is to achieve this task and present a great outcome, and
  • Time-bound - when is this task to be completed, when should we have reviews and what they should consist of.

If you are open, fair and honest with this process, your team members will come away with a sense of urgency, excitement and motivation to make it all happen.

Be warned if you fail to take these steps carefully your team's outcome will not conform to your ideas and may well not aid you in achieving your vision.

If these ideas are new try it out with a small project to get the feel of it and see how your team responds, look carefully for feedback to see how your team accepts challenges when presented this way, then you can adjust your thinking and delivery to strive for bigger results from your leadership.

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