New year, new you – leadership edition.
Okay, so it’s a little bit tacky. But the start of a new year can give you the space to integrate valuable practices into your leadership toolbelt to be a more effective, strategic leader through the new year.
We’re not going to bore you but rather provide some of our favorite leadership tidbits we know make a difference in organizations. These 8 practical tips don’t come from us – instead, they come from our observations of influential leaders in organizations around the globe. We aren’t the creators of these ideas, but we are the purveyors here to explain how they can change the trajectory of your business.
PS – Don’t forget to download the free tip sheet to go!
Tip #1 – Start the Year with an Aligned Purpose & Bold Direction.
Creating focus and inspiring your team starts with creating clear direction. You need a vision statement with grit and purpose.
Visioning is all about creating the future. Sure, it’s the core foundation of any great strategic plan. But it’s also important because, very simply, you cannot be a great leader without a vision, destination, or future that is genuinely compelling.
It’s no easy walk in the park – developing a vision is a challenging process often riddled with anxiety. Check out our video below on how to create a vision statement. You can also check out our visioning guide here.
Tip #2 – Connect Your Team to What You’re Setting Out to Achieve.
Ask everyone to set 2-3 OKR stacks directly connected to your goals.
Getting your team connected – and keeping them connected – to your bigger purpose and annual focus is critical to achieving your vision of success. We love the OKR approach because it wraps the best practices of aligned SMART goal setting in a format that requires your team to review and adapt with quarterly reviews.
The power of cascading responsibility through an organization is that your team connects their daily work to your bold direction and purpose. Plus, everyone knows what is expected of them.
Here is a quick overview on how to create OKRs. Plus, download the free guide for setting OKRs that work in your organization.
Tip #3 – Determine How & Where You’ll Grow.
Every organization needs a growth strategy. Vision statements and OKRs are not a growth strategy.
Creating intentional growth requires a calculated growth strategy. Especially in today’s world, great leaders shift from opportunistic growth, meaning you react to what comes your way, to deliberate growth, building the business you want.
Good growth strategies define where you play, how you win, how you’ll grow, and what are your growth enablers. You can check out the recap on a great growth strategy in our video below and download our free growth strategy guide to build your own.
Tip #4 – Establish a Handful of KPIs Critical to Your Success.
Commit to using quantitative data to drive your decision-making and align around those metrics that tell you if you are winning or losing.
We recommend using KPIs as your business health metrics. Much like vital signs, they’re used to measure your business’s health at any given moment.
With the pace the world moves today, leaders need to have a regular view of indicators to measure the health and vitality of their organizations.
We recommend identifying a set of KPIs that measure quantitative, relevant data core to your business. A clear set of metrics tells you if your business is healthy or getting sick. It clarifies what you must focus on right now.
A good rule to follow is to use 5-7 quantitative measures as KPI health metrics. Learn more about KPIs and health metrics in the video below and our weekly health metrics guide.
Tip #5 – Clarify High Priority, Must Win Battles Every Quarter.
Deciding what you won’t do is as important as deciding what you will do. Keep them top of mind for your team. Refresh quarterly.
As part of our StrategySprintTM approach, we recommend setting focus and high priority battles to win every quarter and keeping them in focus. It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how it can keep your team focused on what’s most important right now.
Pro Tip –
Put the quarterly focus on something visible in your digital or physical workspace. For example, leave your focus at the top of your agendas, on your whiteboard, or wherever it can be a visual reminder.
Tip #6 – Review Organizational Performance Monthly.
Pick a week each month, be consistent, and expect to discuss how to make “reds” into “green.”
Monthly reviews are purpose-built sessions to review the performance of your OKRs/goals and decide what critical actions you need to take in the next 30 days. As part of your consistent, agile planning cycle, you need to review your performance monthly. It doesn’t need to be a heavy, over-engineered process. But your team should spend 60-90 minutes a month to meet, review performance, and discuss how to take critical actions and course correct.
Tip #7 – Promote Strategic Thinking.
Conduct 2 to 4 strategic conversations next year and build your team’s muscle.
Strategic conversations help create your future. Period. Any successful organization needs to dedicate time, thought, and effort to dreaming up where you’ll go next. A “strategic” plan becomes an operational plan without a strategy or vision.
We want your team to have the pivotal strategic conversations that create your future. So to help you be a great facilitator and leader, we’ve pulled together a handy guide to help you understand what constitutes a great strategic conversation. Plus, we created a list of thought-provoking questions for your team to debate and discuss how to make your organization’s future.
Tip #8 – Adapt Quarterly.
Being agile means lightly refreshing your plan quarterly based on your performance and emerging trends.
Refreshing your strategic plan annually—or worse, every 3 to 5 years—is so last century. The name of success these days is agility, and if your plan isn’t agile, your success will be harder to come by.
If you haven’t already, read up on agile planning with OKRs in our StrategySprintTM Guide. By committing to quarterly refreshes, you’re agreeing to set the next 90 days’ focus based on the previous 90 days’ performance.