The SIX Pillars #5 RESULTS
“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” Soren Kierkegaard
Who remembers the bronze medal? Who is Andre de Grasse? No Googling allowed. I’m pretty confident you don’t know the answer. But I bet you know who Usain Bolt is. Andre is a sprinter, just like Usain. He made tremendous efforts, first to get to the Olympics, then to move forward through the heats to the 100-meter dash final, where he finished third at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. A tremendous effort after years of training. But we remember Usain Bolt because he finished first. As in sports, so in business. The effort is appreciated, but results are the only things that matter. And as a leader, you deliver and sustain results by fostering your team’s winning mindset, focusing on what’s essential and attention to detail.
We live in a competitive era.
Foster a winning mindset You must deliver quarterly results if your company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. If your company is privately owned, you must deliver results to shareholders. If you are on your own you still need to pay the bills. Consistent and predictable financial results are still a key business success factor.” However, when you lead a team, the bar is easier to lower than to raise. Complacency may be just around the corner. After all, when your results are good, and you meet your targets, why go the extra mile? But having the discipline to walk the extra mile is always necessary if you want to remain on top. The extra mile is the difference between good and great results. Any team can be good. You will strike luck on quarter, you will take the right decision most of the time, errors will cancel each other and losing a top talent might not hurt you in the short run. That is ok but now think about the good companies that do not exist anymore because they thought they could always win. Blockbuster, Blackberry, Kodak. They stopped seeking the extra mile, unlike Netflix, Apple and Canon. The goal is to move your team from good to great because greatness is always a conscious choice. If you don’t foster a winning mindset, complacency will settle in. Your team may struggle to deliver even minimum results. Eventually, your luck will run out and your competitor will leapfrog you. Leaders cannot ever be satisfied – even with the best results. You must always be looking for areas of improvement. There will always be something that can be better, and even small improvements can impact results significantly. Winning teams also tend to forget the importance of taking risks. Why take risks when everything is working in your favour? Leaders must continue to remind their teams that mistakes and failures are not only necessary because they’re collective learning experiences but also vital for continuous improvement and staying ahead of the competition. Keep a laser focus on what’s most important. The third risk of complacency is a tendency to lose focus on what’s important. Our minds drift and we forget to remind ourselves of our priorities. I’ve found that unless teams are continuously reminded of their strategic goals, they tend to shift focus to less important tasks. This results in a rapid drift away from a winning mindset. It is your job as a leader, to keep your team focused on what is most important. Remind them often of their priorities and adjust those priorities to the situation to ensure results are achieved. Review your team’s performance quarterly (if not more frequently), providing clear expectations and measurable KPIs. Numbers, results, and achievements are objective and offer a fair and unequivocal evaluation of your team members’ progress. To help me keep a laser focus on our priorities, every week for the past five years, I’ve published a summary of my team’s achievements, wins, and pending projects. This has multiple benefits.
It boosts morale, as there’s something to celebrate every week.
It helps me reflect on what I may do better.
It keeps our leaders informed and confident that our team is heading towards their goals.
This weekly report does require extra work, but it has never failed to deliver results. I’ve used it in my last three positions on three different continents. The devil is in the details. Senior leaders sometimes think it’s enough to have a high-level understanding of their operation and that the details can be left to their team. But this approach can cause minor leaks to become raging torrents. No matter what level you’re at, when you leaded you must keep your finger on the pulse of your team’day-to-dayay activities. Missing the detail may result in overlooking a key opportunity for improvement. As you continue to challenge your team, your leaders will also challenge you to deliver better results. Once you’ve addressed tlow-hanginging fruit and other easy wins, don’t be surprised to find senior leaders challenging the detail of how you run your team. I have been amazed by conversations with the CEO of our company, because she knew more details about my division than I did. Afterwards, I realized this is one of the reasons why she is a tremendous CEO. Details matter always and at the highest levels. To sustain and improve results, stop accepting the first answer that comes from your team. Continue probing by asking questions that dive deeper. The more details you have, the easier it will be to enhance results and foster a winning mindset. Your team will become a solid results juggernaut when you get this right. Your culture will be strong, and you will consolidate your executive brand within the organization. Your strongest team members may be promoted thanks to the results they’ve delivered. When you foster a winning mindset, focus on what’s important, and make attention to detail a priority, you ensure success for the future of your organization.
TAKE ACTION 5 Results-driving things to start doing today 1 – STOP overpraising efforts. Efforts are appreciated, but eventually, only results matter. 2 – START driving discipline. Do what you say and expect the same from your team members. 3 – START throwing away what is unnecessary; focus only on the indispensable. 4 – KEEP tab on the details; that is where the devil is. Trust but verify. Do not micromanage 5 – SET clear incentives for achieving the results you agreed upon