There is more to team success than leadership … team members do play a critical role … however, great leadership can make even a dysfunctional team great. How? Great leaders are very conscious in their approach and use what we at Summit Training call the “Deliberate Success” approach.
Deliberate Success involves developing yourself into the great leader you want to become, while simultaneously helping those you lead develop into the great team you, collectively, want to become. In both cases it consists of three simple (and deliberate) steps: Vision, Action and Reflection.
1. Create your VISION of success. This includes both a vision of the results you intend to get, and the values you intend to follow. Create a clear definition of success for your team and for yourself as a leader. It is not good enough to say you will be ‘high performing’ because that really has no meaning … or, rather, it can have any number of meanings. You need to be very specific as to the results and the culture that you want to have. You want effective interpersonal communication? Great. Explore and describe together what exactly that looks like in your work setting. After all, if you cannot define it, you cannot measure it. And, if you cannot measure it, you have no idea whether or not you are doing it. As Stephen Covey writes in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind”.
When you create a team vision, it is very important to involve all team members in uncovering and describing the ideal culture that reflects their collective values and goals. In the end, they will be motivated and committed to achieving such a vision.
2. Take ACTION. Make a deliberate, focused plan and implement it. These actions must be directly connected to your vision. Deliberate and specific actions are essential to success. You can just do what you do and hope for the best, or you can do the right thing and get your desired result. Make sure you schedule your actions. State what you will do, when you will do it, who you will do it with, why you are doing it and what you expect as results. Without this level of detail, there is a very high chance you will not follow through.
3. Reflect. Without reflection, it is easy to lose your way, to stray off course toward some “shiny object” that catches your attention. Periodically ask yourself if you are achieving what you set out to do. Is your vision still the right one for you? Are you being who you said you would be? Are your actions getting you the results you had hoped for? If not, why not, and what do you need to change?
Great leaders will take this very deliberate approach to building the foundation of a high performance team.