True north is our vision of where we want to go. It’s a picture in words and maybe drawings of what we want things to look like when we get there, when we succeed. If we end up somewhere in the vicinity of the vision, we should be on target!
Here are six steps to accomplishing or getting nearer your True North in 2014:
1. What do you want? Most people don’t take the time to define what they really want. As quality guru W. Edwards Deming said “It is not enough to do your best, you must know what to do, then do your best.” If you want something, you must clearly state it in a way that can be measured, such as “grow volumes at double-digit rates” or “provide the best customer service in our industry.”
2. Get alignment with your team. You can’t do it yourself, nor should you. A true leader is one who can identify the vision and then put it in such a way that the team not only understands it but they also agree with it and then eventually own it. Alignment with your leadership team and your employees is the only way a vision will succeed.
3. Map out your strategies/goals/priorities. Once you have the vision, then you must create the plan for it to be actionable. What is needed to achieve the vision? Who needs to help? By when do you need to do certain aspects of the plan? Calendar your goals. Hold yourself and others accountable for achievement. What are the measurements by which you’ll know how you’re moving forward?
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! One of the most important things you as the leader need to do all the way throughout the process is communicate well and often. Make sure everyone knows what the vision is and that they can say it in their sleep. Does everyone know their role and responsibilities? Do they know how their part of the puzzle fits into the bigger picture? Have you reminded everyone of the victories and movements forward?
5. Review and evaluate. Take time throughout the process on a regular basis to stop, take stock of where you are, make course corrections, and celebrate what you have achieved thus far. Recognize that sometimes you have to fail forward and sometimes you are able to leap forward. Both scenarios are valid. Going back to step 4, make sure you communicate to your team that you are still going forward no matter the scenario. What is working well? What needs help? Where can you improve? Do it!
6. Celebrate! Celebration is the step most often ignored by leaders. And yet this one thing can be a huge shot of encouragement and hope to keep everyone aligned with the vision. The celebration doesn’t have to be a big expensive party. It can be a simple acknowledgement of accomplishments done to date. Acknowledge and celebrate!
My vision for my company is to be a world-renowned leadership expert helping women leaders succeed in male-dominated industries. My goal for 2014 is to grow my company by 200% and begin building my firm’s reputation as an expert in leadership (I have the specifics written out on “how”!). What is your vision? Have fun creating it!