In previous articles, I have presented ways to create a proper organizational vision, then gain individual and team alignment to achieve that vision. I have presented how clear strategies and goals that your team can relate to assist in accomplishment of your vision. The final piece of the puzzle is successful execution of those strategies and goals.

Clarity of Strategies, Goals, and Success Measurement

It is important that you, as a leader, do a solid job of helping each team member understand how what they do on a daily basis impacts goal and strategy achievement. If an employee feels that all they do is “keep the floors clean”, then how can you expect that employee to give you his best efforts. Instead, that employee needs to connect “keeping the floors clean” to something bigger, such as “preventing product contamination to ensure top quality”, or “maintaining a safe working environment to prevent accidents and injuries”. This makes it easier for that employee to connect what he does to achievement of broader organizational goals.

The Role of Consequences

As a leader, you must make sure that consequences for employee behaviors are aligned with goal accomplishment. In other words, for every positive behavior there should be a positive consequence, and for every negative or undesired behavior there should be a negative consequence. Also, keep in mind that no consequence for undesirable behavior is the same as a positive consequence or reward for that bad behavior. Consequences should support the behaviors necessary for goal achievement and should be consistently applied. Your performance management process should include both goal achievement expectations and the behaviors required for successful performance. Your rewards and recognition processes should be designed to support achievement of your organizational goals, strategies, and ultimately…your vision.

Following Through

On a final note, if you simply announce your vision, strategies, and goals, then walk away and expect things to just happen…you will be sorely disappointed. The sad reality is that many managers (notice I refrain from calling them leaders) announce their plan and expectations, walk away, and when they return and find poor progress towards stated goals, they like to make a lot of noise and crap on everybody. I refer to this type of manager as the Seagull Manager. You know you are a Seagull Manager when people “duck” when you show up.

Instead, follow up frequently on goal achievement by developing clearly understood milestones and measurements of success. Make sure your team clearly understands the milestones and measures, and that they are made aware of their progress routinely. You want to be a positive presence among your team. You want your employees to feel that you are accessible and available to help solve problems. You want to develop your team to solve their own problems. And finally, you want to celebrate the small successes along the journey. If you celebrate enough small successes, you will eventually have the opportunity to celebrate big successes and achieve great things!