Change Your Habits

Guest post from S. Chris
Edmonds

Every
leader can improve their team’s performance and the team’s values-alignment by changing what they pay attention to.

Most
people pay attention to what’s right in front of them. We track performance
data, customer satisfaction, and the like. As leaders, we pay attention to
what’s right in front of you. So, you need to put the right stuff in front of
you.

What
Do You Pay Attention To?

In
my work with senior leaders and executive teams across a wide variety of
industries, one of the most important questions I ask is to learn what those
leaders pay attention to. Most of them tell me that they spend most of their
time looking at performance indicators

       Summaries of key metrics

       Spreadsheet data

       Other dashboard tools.

Monitoring
performance metrics is a good thing. Yet sometimes internal systems present
metrics that are easy for us to monitor but aren’t the right things for us to
monitor.

Here’s
an example. A few years ago a printing plant client installed a new $20M
high-technology press which could deliver speeds of 50,000 impressions an hour.
The dashboard built into the press software kept careful track of impressions
per hour.

However,
if the color scheme was off by just 2%, the printed matter would not meet their
customer’s standards. The press’ dashboard did not monitor color requirements
perfectly – only a human could do that.

A
run of one million pages/impressions wasn’t uncommon. Every job was easy to
monitor with the dashboard metrics. Systems and incentives were created to meet
a certain target of average impressions per hour. Yet if the color balance was
off, the job would have to be run again (creating waste and higher costs for
the job)! It was vital to monitor – and incent – both impressions per hour AND
adherence to the customer’s color palette.

You
can see that what is easy to measure might not give you an accurate picture of
reality.

Here’s
What Leaders Must Pay Attention To

1. Strategic Clarity – leaders must
constantly assess how well their organization’s strategy is understood
across operations staff. Communication and reinforcement of the declared
strategy will lead to a clear understanding by all staff.

2. Goal Alignment – Once strategic
clarity is reached, leaders must constantly assess the degree to which
projects, goals, tasks are aligned to your organization’s declared
strategy.

3. Expectations Clarity – Next,
leaders must ensure that everyone in the organization has formalized end
goals (performance standards) and means goals (values defined in
behavioral terms). Also, leaders must ensure that all staff proactively
commit to their performance and values goals.

4. Consistent Accountability
leaders must hold all staff accountable, day in and day out, for meeting
performance expectations and values expectations. Accountability means the
prompt application of POSITIVE consequences (when folks do the right
things the right way) and NEGATIVE consequences (when they don’t).

S. Chris Edmonds is
a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. After a 15-year
career leading successful teams, Chris founded his consulting company, The Purposeful Culture Group, in
1990. Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard
Companies since 1995. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including
Amazon best sellers The
Culture Engine
 and Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Learn
from his blog posts, podcasts, assessments, research, and videos at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com.
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