Intentionality. It is the ability to understand the end game before ever beginning. It is the competency to identify the steps needed to achieve a goal and, most importantly, taking those steps to make your desired outcome a reality. This month, I would like you to take a moment and consider the following case study and highlighted four steps as examples of practicing intentionality.
(A brief note: Many of you may read this case study and worry that it is your business specifically being described. This is not the case. Most of my clients are dealing with these very same challenges.)
A newly appointed president acquires an executive team. This team—made up of members that have been with the organization for twenty, even thirty years—worked with her predecessor for the past decade. This is an environment deeply embedded with traditions, habits, and established team norms. The new president is expected not only to implement change and growth in the next 3-5 years, but also topline growth within the next eighteen months. No pressure, right?
1). Shared Vision
The president in our case study put forth an organizational strategy and was met with complete agreement and minimal feedback. This not a winning strategy, as only her goals were being addressed versus the goals of the team at large. She had to reassess her methods with great intention and deliberation. She wanted a team that would poke holes in her strategies and challenge everything from the metrics to the needed resources. In order to build an environment that encouraged her team to collaborate openly, she had to act with great intentionality. She took the time to pull information together into a new plan to present to her team.
The only way to keep intentional changes on track is to hold both your team and, more importantly, yourself, accountable. Our executive began holding meetings with her team about the new strategy on a monthly basis. She believed in accomplishing smaller goals within 90-day quarters was more effective than aiming for year-long plans that often were forgotten along the way. These 1:1 meetings ensured that everyone was keeping pace in accomplishing their quarterly goals.
3). Celebrating Successes and Failures
In today’s ever moving, always changing world, it’s easy to brush off both successes and failures in favor of moving on to the next project or plan. When it comes to successes, it’s important to celebrate and recognize in order to keep a team engaged. And then, with regards to failure, we often say we will remember needed changes for the next time, or we call it an anomaly and move along. This executive, however, made sure to address both successes and failures with her team. She made sure to reward successes and understand failures as a stepping-stone to later successes. Like all of us, she was tempted to simply continue to the next thing. Instead, she acted with intention to make time for celebration and debriefing before moving on to tackling her next goal.
4). Continuous Growth and Learning
One of the hardest things any of us must do is challenge our own short-comings as leaders. This executive is no exception. At the start of her intentional leadership journey, she was not a strong Coach, but rather a very strong Architect and Manager. She focused on some of her weaknesses, learning to be a good listener, to ask questions. She had to intentionally take a step back and trust her team instead of taking a more hands-on approach. Today, she cites this intentionality as her biggest secret to becoming an effective leader as measured by most company categories.
So in the coming month, take an intentional pause and consider how you can challenge yourself. Choose something to address with greater intention, develop a plan, and go after it.
Laura Boyd has over 20 years of experience working with organizations to help them develop sustainable growth as organizations and the people within. She has been a leader on executive teams for large companies, emerging companies and non-profits, as well as, a business owner. She believes Leadership is the ultimate Delta for change, strategy and growth in an organization. She is now taking her years of experience helping businesses become high performance organizations.
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