Do you continually deliver results within your organization?
Are the results you deliver on time?
If you do deliver results on time, are they completed without sacrificing other factors like quality, or alienating your peers/co-workers?
Without a doubt, it’s not only important to produce results, BUT to be able to produce results “on time.”
However, everyone’s work is a link in a bigger chain of events within an organization.
If the initiative you are responsible for is late or lacks the necessary quality, your key stakeholders are directly impacted. It’s not just you that has to account for these issues, so too does the entire system.
No leader works in a vacuum and no leader achieves results by themselves.
Here’s a quick checklist to see how you are doing as it relates to getting things done.
Make a mental note of how many of these apply to you:
- You meet targets/goals most of the time
- You sometimes miss important deadlines
- You are as timely in meeting targets/goals as everyone else in your work unit
- More often then not, you are among the bottom half to finish agreed upon assignments
- Achieving all goals on time defines your leadership brand
- As target dates draw near your intensity for results increases
So how did you do?
Ready for some feedback?
If you mentally acknowledged any of the above issues you are:
NOT THAT EFFECTIVE IN DELIVERING RESULTS ON TIME.
Not to worry as many leaders are less than effective on this very issue.
The good news is that we have found that significant improvement can be made once leaders understand and take action on two simple yet powerful techniques to help them get better results on time.
First, Some Key Issues…
There are many common issues as to why leaders do not effectively deliver results on time.
Before we describe two ways to fix these, let’s first outline some of the barriers or common issues that inhibit effectiveness in delivering results on time.
From our coaching and organizational experience spanning over 20 years in Fortune 500 organizations and global consulting firms, here are the top 5 causes that prevent leaders from delivering results on time – based on evaluating 360 Performance Appraisals Surveys conducted on over 650 middle to senior level leaders.
Top 5 Issues That STOP Leaders From Delivering Results On Time:
- Lacks Organizing Skills: Failing to plan, outline, delegate, etc.
- Perfectionist in Their Orientation to Work/Life: Failing to understand that sometimes “good is good enough”
- Does Not Involve Others: Forgetting that effective leadership is never done alone
- Slow Work Pace: Always know that “time” is a powerful competitive advantage
- Fails to Lay Out the Process: Knowing where you’re headed is key to achieving your goals
Two Powerful Techniques For Delivering Results On Time
From our coaching work and in our analysis, the two biggest contributing techniques used by leaders who are perceived to be highly effective at delivering results on time are:
- The Ability to Lay Out the Process
- Getting Others Involved on the Front End
Let’s look at the two steps that effective leaders employ to deliver results consistently and on time.
Step 1: The Ability to Lay Out the Process
At first glance, this appears simple right?
Yet this is the step that is most often overlooked.
For a number of factors, but usually because the leader simply will not take the time to “slow down” and implement the required planning.
Yes, taking the time to lay out the work from A to Z takes effort and time, yet by slowing down it actually makes you faster!
How can “being slow make you fast?”
Simple: by laying out the process ahead of time, it significantly reduces your chances of having to keep revisiting issues over and over again or backtrack. Hence, slow becomes fast!
So, to ensure you “Lay out the process” properly, use the following questions to help you:
- What are the specific outcomes/expectations?
- What’s the target date for delivery?
- What are the quality and/or service requirements?
- What are the external customers/vendors/suppliers that will be needed and directly impacted?
- What resources will be required and who controls them?
- Funding/Budget (Currency issue)
- Support needed internally
Lastly, with the advent of advanced technology, many effective leaders utilize project-planning software that is relatively inexpensive and can guide you through an organized process.
Examples of well-reviewed project-planning software include products such as At Task and EasyProjects.net
In addition, the output of the software (whether plain word documents or more complex mind maps) allows you to easily communicate your plans with your key stakeholders.
This “involvement of others” links directly to the second critical step in the effective delivery of results on time.
Step 2: Getting Others Involved on the Front-End
There are only a few principles, or truths, surrounding effective leadership and one of these is that effective leaders know that they can’t do it alone.
They recognize that delivering results on time in a consistent manner is a team sport and they need to actively engage others.
Another way of thinking about this is through a term that Richard Shell and Mario Moussa call “Woo.”
That is, the ability to win people over to a leader’s ideas without coercion, using relationship-based, emotionally intelligent persuasion.
Clearly, effective leaders have the ability to put themselves in the other person’s shoes but it is more than just the ability to be “empathetic.”
It is the ability to know your own style of communication, behavior & leadership beliefs and knowing the communication style, behaviors & leadership beliefs of those you are influencing.
The key learning point here is this: If you only influence others through your formal authority (also called “positional authority”) or through the use of data/numbers/logic you will over time drive top performers away from wanting to assist you.
Because high-performance talent does not want to be told.
They need to be engaged and be in partnership.
In short, you will not have captured their “hearts and minds” unless you get buy-in on a deeper more emotional level.
Here’s a practical and quite effective tip to get others involved on the front end:
On a quarterly basis share your higher level and longer-term priorities with your key stakeholders as a way to calibrate if they are still relevant/timely/funded. This allows for active dialog and the opportunity to engage them as resources and they you.
In conclusion, effective leaders who deliver results on time do all of the following:
- They are among the first to deliver on their objectives
- They frequently exceed many of their target dates
- The exhibit a faster work pace than most
- They never suffer quality, cost, or morale issues
Special Note: Listen to Mario Moussa and I as we explore “The Art of Woo” on rd&partners Radio Show Leadership Leverage. Click here to listen now or download the MP3.