We talk a lot about setting goals and keeping teams focused to try and get faster growth. Setting one goal – a due north for growth – can really help an organisation drive forwards. How can you sail a boat if the 5 different crew members are all working to different destinations?! If we can then set one destination – one answer to the question – “where do we want to go?” – we can ensure that our team and our business is moving in the same direction – towards faster growth.
That’s one part of the problem solved. Another critical part is the issue of accountability. Great teams operate with a high level of accountability. Without it, team members go off in all directions with each doing what they think is important. This inevitably means that the day to day starts to take over and the boat starts trying to move in all sorts of directions.
With accountability you, as the leader, AND your team ensure that the goal is achieved, no matter what else is happening around you. The traditional view of accountability is the leader meets with their staff and lets them know how they are doing and what they should focus on. However, an improved approach is to ensure that accountability is shared. Everyone jointly makes commitments and then everyone is accountable to the leader AND to each other.
Doing it this way means that the type of accountability is personal. Instead of accountability to a broad organisational outcome that individual staff cannot influence, it’s accountability to a weekly commitment that each member of staff have made and its within their power to achieve.
Our suggestion is that these are weekly, focused meetings lasting no longer than 30 mins focusing on the one wildly important goal and the progress made towards it. Day to day issues are banned and shouldn’t be discussed. It should have three key stages:
- Account – report on the commitments from last week
- Review the scoreboard – learn from successes and failures
- Plan – clear the path of issues by making suggestions as a team of things that could solve the nagging problems. Then make further commitments to progress.
To further assist the laser like focus to this approach we need to reinforce the thinking of “what are the one or two most important things I can do this week to impact on the objectives”. These are commitments, beyond the day to day, that must happen to progress on the objectives that lead to the wildly important goal. Simply put focusing on these commitments drives the achievement of the objectives and the objectives drive the achievement of the wildly important goal.
When the commitments made to each other are kept staff grow in respect for each other. They learn that the people they work with can be trusted to follow through. When this happens, you have a high performing team and faster growth!