After 20 years of being an entrepreneur and CEO of private and public companies, I can tell you one of the most important factors in achieving your goals is having a clear direction for where you want your company to go. It’s also the #1 principle for implementing a world-class strategy execution framework.
Without direction, your staff won’t be aligned or engaged because there is nothing to be aligned to or engaged with, and it is inappropriate to hold people accountable for a result you haven’t been able to clearly communicate.
Without oversimplifying, this quote sums up my point, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might just end up there.”
The requirement for having clear direction is not limited to corporate strategy and it’s not the sole responsibility of senior management. Being able to clearly express the outcomes of daily tasks is just as difficult – and equally important
The same consequences apply for not clearly defining daily activities. The risk is your staff will be busy but not productive.
If you can’t tell from my example in episode one, I like cake so here’s another cake analogy. If I ask you to bake a cake, but that’s all I tell you, what flavour will you make? When will it be ready? How many people will it feed? If I don’t clarify these things, we both waste time, energy, materials and money. The worst part is having a cake no one wants.
Who is great at setting direction? Architects. They spend a lot of time clarifying what type of house you want and what features you like. Only then do they produce a set of blueprints and plans everyone can follow.
When this level of planning and direction is established in your business, everything becomes 1000 times easier. You’ll have alignment, be able to measure the outcomes against your plan, get staff engaged and hold people accountable for results. The chances you’ll reach your goals improves 10-fold.
It’s essential that as a manager you take time to clarify your goals both at a strategic and daily activity level. When you do this, measuring the result becomes easy, staff are aligned and engaged, and your managers know how to coach and support staff to achieve the desired outcome.
My advice? Think like an architect and get your plans in place before you do anything else.