An organization is only as good as it's ideas.
You can have incredible people, and great leadership, but if you don't have the right ideas, you will spend a lot of time, money and energy on the wrong things.
This is why I am so passionate about clarifying good ideas within an organization.
Every organization and leader has to learn to narrow down, and decide between good ideas, and bad ideas...between good ideas, and the right ideas for you and your organization.
Because, let's be honest - you can't do every good idea. You only have so much organizational energy and capital. Every idea you initiate that is good but not best takes away from your organizational focus on the truly important ideas.
Here are 6 important steps to identifying the right goals as an organization or leaders.
I believe these will help you become significantly more effective as you put them into practice:
1. Clarify why you are here - your big organizational objectives
Vague mission statements never got anybody anywhere.
I remember going to a church that had an audacious mission statement to reach the whole world, but it was very vague. Essentially, no one knew exactly where to go with it.
This actually works against your organization, if there is not a clear, actionable mission.
The key word is clarify. Break it down into something that is unique to your organization, as clear as possible, emotion-evoking, stirs involvement, and people can take action immediately.
2. Develop reachable, yet audacious goals tied to why you are here
Develop reachable, yet audacious goals, that become simple steps tied to a big vision - this is what invigorates a team.
They want to be able to see what is a win, work towards what is a win, and celebrate what is a win, before moving on to the next thing.
Develop goals that move the organization's "why" forward, and challenge your team, without discouraging them.
3. set ACTIONABLE STEPS FOR EVERY DEPARTMENT AND TEAM MEMBER
Break down the reachable, yet audacious goals tied to your organization's big "why" into daily, weekly and monthly steps.
Clarify what moving the ball down the field looks like in daily, weekly & monthly steps for every department and team member.
Leave space in these to develop their projects and run with things, but make sure they are clear on the big, clear "why" of your organization, and the audacious goals
4. Focus less on working hard, and more on working effectively
You can be full steam ahead, only to realize you were going in the wrong direction the entire time.
Busyness does not equal productivity. Efficiency does not equal effectiveness. You need to be strategic and clear so everybody is going in the same, right direction.
Hard work is always needed, but just make sure it is hard work on the right objectives.
5. At Some Point You have to stop coming up with new ideas, and move forward the ones you already have
It really depends on what type of leader you are. Some people get giddy about new ideas, and can't stop coming up with them. Others, like me, get a little overwhelmed by new ideas, because we know how much work it will be to actually accomplish them.
At some point, your organization, leader and teams need to stop coming up with new ideas, and start working on the ones you already have.
The difference between mediocre organizations, and great ones is doing worthwhile stuff, not just talking about big ideas.
There is only so much organizational energy and resources, and too many ideas will cloud your daily tasks, confuse your teams, and work against what you are trying to do.
So, if you've got a really, really good idea - maybe add it to the pile, but maybe not.
You continually have to decide what is worth working on, and what doesn't matter.
And as a leader, you can't change this all the time. You need to take people with you, and stop changing the directions every time you have a new exciting idea. This is one of the quickest ways to disparage your teams. They won't ever know how long their work will matter, because you keep pulling the rug out from under them.
6. Your organization will only be as good as the ideas you say no to
If you're going to stay on track, you have to say no to a lot of good ideas, because they are not the right ideas.
Every time you say "yes" to a new idea, it will take away from other ideas your teams are working on. So it better be worth everybody's time.
Really, your organization will only be as good as the ideas you say no to.
This is why I'm passionate about good ideas. I don't mind talking about new ideas, but you have to be very clear with your team which ideas really matter and are becoming an organizational priority, and which are just items you are tossing around. They need to know what is truly important, so they can work accordingly.
Really, you need less staff coming up with new ideas, and more staff responsible for moving ideas forward.
It should be a rule within an organization, that if a team member comes up with a new idea, and a decision is made to run with the idea, the team member who came up with the idea has to work to implement it. Not somebody else, and surely not the staff that tend to take on everybody's else's projects and ideas.
It should also be established that employees within one department don't try to take over or bring ideas to the table for other departments. Employees are hired for their area of expertise, and the last thing you want is for them to try to tell everybody else how to do their job, or be setting ideas or projects they have no responsibility for.
The fastest way to burn out your best employees (the one's who are actually moving the ball down the field) is to make them responsible for everybody else's ideas.
Here's to good ideas!