An Execution Framework for Achieving Ambitious Goals

While annual planning and performance reviews are very structured processes, most organizations don’t have structured models for managing execution and goal achievement between plan and review. How are your planned outcomes versus actuals monitored week over week and how much does your approach vary over the course of the year? Loosely structured con calls, staff meetings that don’t address goals, confusion on work ownership, and changing deliverables lists with little accountability are signs that execution is too ad hoc. Without a consistent execution framework, it’s easy to lose time and hard to achieve ambitious goals. For high velocity goal achievement, try a more explicit and structured execution methodology:

1.  Get the Goals Right
Set explicit, quantifiable and material goals for business outcomes such as revenue target, market share gain, profit margin or other quantifiable result. Don’t confuse activity with outcomes and resist the temptation to set motion-based goals. (It’s not the number of swings that matter, but scoring more runs than the opponent.) Focus goal setting on end-state or end-point outcomes and make sure everyone on the team understands them. Create the one-page dashboard you will use to track progression against goals over the quarter – what are the metrics and meters that matter?

2.  Plan the Work Required to Achieve The Goals
Define the streams of work and identify the key deliverables within each stream. Map the key metrics from your dashboard to the workstreams. All the deliverables should be defined by the explicit outcome expected and a due date. Analyze the work plan to ensure that the deliverables and their outcomes do add up to the results needed! Every deliverable on the plan should be assigned to a single owner, and every member of the team should have clarity on how his or her deliverables impact goal achievement. Next, add measurement for deliverable completion to your dashboard.

3.  Work The Plan
Now work the plan rigorously and relentlessly! Meet with staff members at the beginning of each week to review the week’s deliverables list, then ask for a status report on results against this list at the end of the week. This is the single most effective way to achieve the plan; working and reporting against the same list concentrates effort and action where they’re needed. The deliverables list and status report form the agenda of the following week’s one on one meeting and drive execution consistency and accountability. Use the status reports with weekly outcomes to update your dashboard.

This higher cadence monitoring of plan vs actual will help you more quickly identify execution gaps that threaten goal achievement or where the plans need to be revised. Team members will have confidence they’re working on the right things and that their work matters. See what the team can achieve with a consistent, outcome-focused execution framework.

Tools like Workboard are a great way to communicate goals, define workstreams, assign deliverables, and automate status reporting – you’ll have a structured execution model and real transparency with less effort from everyone.  You can try it for free or learn more here.

Photo credit: Bigstock

4 Ways to Increase Your Goal Achievement

The formula for achieving goals is straightforward: apply team, time and budget to the specific work needed to reach the right results. Very successful people achieve goals faster and with fewer resources than peers; their execution velocity is high, which raises their career velocity. Their capacity to execute is focused on achieving clear goals so they need less time or resources to get from point A to point B; great business and career results follow. Stellar team members gravitate toward these managers, so their teams — and results — get stronger over time.

Our capacity is almost always constrained, so how we manage that capacity is a crucial factor in goal achievement and it’s one of the biggest challenges managers face. Goals face intense competition from incoming emails and daily dramas, which tend to erase all memory of the original goals. Keeping people aligned and working toward the goal is hard, but losing even a day a week is a 20% capacity hit.

Without clear goals, operational transparency and capacity focused on goal achievement, even awesome teams end up moving the wrong mountain. These four disciplines can help increase your velocity to goal:

1. Know Your Point B.

Make sure the team knows the specific goals and the metrics for success. Keep them present and visible day-to-day to counter rising environmental noise. With clear goals, people make better decisions and waste no time trying to figure out what matters. As importantly, they have a continuing understanding of how their efforts contribute to group achievement. Without that clarity, time and goodwill are lost redoing work and achievement is pure luck.

2. Know Your Point A.

To define the actions and investments necessary to get from where you are to goal, be rigorous about operational transparency. While the goal shouldn’t move much, current state changes constantly. Set your transparency threshold by the cost of time — if losing five days will undermine goal achievement, then it’s too long to wait for execution facts. Tell your team that you value facts (even when they are not happy facts) and why those facts are essential to success. Real-time transparency maximizes your ability to recover quickly by optimizing your resources as facts change.

3. Concentrate Resources On Goal Achievement.

When goals and current facts are opaque, the team’s capacity goes everywhere except goal achievement. Your velocity to goal is a function of how much friction and distraction there is on your path from point A to B. Make sure your full capacity is laser focused on goal achievement. Hold yourself and the team accountable for where time and effort are spent — these are your most valued assets. Deciding what not to work on is hard but necessary; use team meetings to rule out distractions and lower priority work so goals can be achieved.

4. Make Transparency A Constant.

Define dashboards for transparency on goals, actions, progress and team efforts then automate them so they don’t take time away from goal achievement. Most organizations can recoup 25% – 40% of people’s time by making goals and facts clear and eliminating endless status meetings and reporting. These resources and transparency improve velocity — in fact, they’re an opportunity to achieve goals with fewer resources and speed than peers. And because no member of the team enjoys status meetings, read outs and reworking bad decisions, stellar team members will gravitate to your team where they can spend more time doing great work, achieving goals and building their own career velocity.

While productivity often refers to doing more every minute, increasing velocity to goal means deciding where not to spend time and resources. You’ll cover the path to goal in less time and with less effort. It’s not more work, it’s just more achievement.

Tools like Workboard provide dashboards and transparency on goals, actions, progress and effort and automates status reporting. It enables everyone on the team to make better decisions, stay goal aligned and increase their velocity — it’s free for managers and their teams.

Are You Pulling Teeth to Reach Goals?

Your organization’s yearly goals surpass the company standards, but is it working? Sometimes we become so captivated in the process of building a training program that we forget to keep tabs on what’s working and what isn’t from employee to employee.

Growth is an important aspect of any company – those that are high growth organizations provide a 5 times greater return to shareholders than medium-growth companies. What steps do companies need to take in order to reach (and sustain) upper-level success? How can we better manage our end goals?

Looking beyond the training process

The training program is in place, what follows? Ask team members to track their own progress whether it’s weekly deliverables via spreadsheets or sharing accomplishments through tools like Basecamp. This allows employees to take control of their own development so you can manage them without micromanaging.

While micromanagers have good intentions of keeping their employees on task, it can lead to sour results; of the 60% of employees who say they were micromanaged in the past, 55% say it decreased their productivity and 68% it dampened their morale. Don’t drain your employees in all the wrong ways. Allow supervisors and employees to visibly run through everything that was covered over the course of the week by:

  • Briefing the two parties on what was completed
  • Displaying whether or not time was prioritized correctly
  • Seeking alternative routes for the weeks to come for better revenue
  • Tracking progress through ongoing projects

Requiring employees to display what they have done in a week can be an eye opener and a motivator. Online documentation is also a helpful way to track progress when reviews come around. When they physically type their accomplishments they see what changes need to be made in the future and what goals need to be reassessed for following weeks.

Don’t be afraid to simply… ask!

Give employees an opportunity to speak on what they need – what resources they lack or what they struggle with for example – allows the employer to step in and offer alternate routes. Believe it or not, employees want your feedback; 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback from their employers at least once a week.

Each employee learns and develops differently which means each employee will need customized paces and tasks for their daily work. Give them the opportunity to assess themselves to see if they have hit personal goals or taken a role in completing organizational goals.

Setting reachable goals

At this point, the supervisor and employee can brainstorm new goals if past initiatives exceeded (or didn’t meet) expectations, or even find more effective tactics meet goals. This way, both have a solid understanding of short and long-term goals for that employee. It’s important to set reasonable goals for your employees that both parties agree on.

Don’t allow your employees to walk away with a new set of goals they know they can’t accomplish – but also be sure not to underset goals which can inhibit productivity. Joel Trammel (@TheAmericanCEO), author of The CEO Tightrope, said:

“One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make is not taking the time to go through the process of identifying the business fundamentals with employees. It is crucial that managers engage employees in a mutual goal-setting process. At the end of the conversation the employee must take ownership of the goal and agree that it is achievable and worth pursuing.”
Creating comfortable, open relationships between employee and employer, discussing professional goals, requesting weekly deliverables and monitoring trends throughout your company are all steps that can easily be implemented into every company for reaching the highest potential goals. Reaching goals within a team can be a three-step process: Define, execute and trace. See if what you’re completing is matching your pre-determined goals and reassess as needed.

5 Steps to Stellar Year-End Reviews

It’s mid-year review time and if you’re like many people, you haven’t thought about goals in 5.5 months. Not a great moment for manager or team member, but it’s a common one. Mid-year reviews are a painful reminder of how far apart work and goals can drift and how little traditional performance management helps people perform at their best. Just 7% of employees understand their goals and what they need to do to achieve them. The disconnect creates a lot of anxiety: “How could that have happened?” “Why wasn’t I just more disciplined?” and “How will I make up the lost time?”

Then when you do look at the goals, frustration: “This has nothing to do with what our team has been focused on the last 3 months.” “Why didn’t we revise these when we changed strategy?” “How can I possible be measured on these things when they don’t matter anymore?!” and “What’s the point of this whole process — it’s so far removed from our real work.”

While it’s tempting to forget the goals, that thought is quickly followed by a reminder message from HR that you need to go through the motions by end of the month. Then there is the self-realization that it’s more fulfilling to aspire to something larger and that your performance and compensation are fundamentally intertwined.

The performance process doesn’t support great performance.

We live in an always-on world, but the typical approach to goals is “mostly off”. Chances are your company’s performance approach provides you little value and plays little or no role in how you manage. According to Deloitte, only 8% of companies believe their process is high value. Process and people fail when:

  • Your business changes faster than your goals.
  • Operational or business goals are divorced from individual goals and you focus on the former at the expense of the latter.
  • Your corporate performance system is for goal data entry — enter once, forget promptly.
  • You’re not as effective as you could be centering your week and your team on goal achievement so the day to day rush overwhelms bigger intentions.
  • You don’t have goals and no metrics for success exist.

Don’t leave your performance to chance (or somebody else)

Don’t leave your performance to chance (or somebody else).

Instead of setting and forgetting goals or relying on out-dated process, take control of your own career trajectory and support your team’s. Use a continuous performance process that includes setting smart objectives and empowering you and your team to achieve them. These five steps will help you be more successful and get more recognition:

1. Recognize the power of goals.
Goals are a pre-requisite to success. A goal is how you define what you’re striving for and what success looks like. They are powerful drivers of personal growth, which accelerate success over time. Think of it this way: You and your goals must be present to win. In fact, people with goals out-earn people without them by more than 10x over 10 years according to a Harvard study.

2. Understand the ROI of demonstrating achievement.
In addition to greater focus on achievement, people with goals earn more because they define then demonstrate success. It’s impossible to achieve a goal you’ve forgotten and difficult to win a debate about what “success” is after the fact. Make it easy for your boss to advocate for you by providing continuous performance facts about progress on agreed-upon goals. Facts make a huge difference in employee ranking and the pay and promotion pipeline – but very few managers are really disciplined about cataloguing them for their direct reports.

3. Design goals into your work week.
Change your process – not the company’s — to make goals a true part of your work and week. Goal-driven teams use Workboard to take ownership of their performance. Workboard supplements HR systems used to centrally manage company-wide goal setting with a “local” app to enable goal achievement. It brings business and individual goals together with tools to manage real-time priorities, actions and tasks on Web and mobile. Goals and work are always connected, wherever you or your team are.

4. Refresh goals when they’re stale.
If a goal is no longer worth pursuing, change it! It’s a huge disservice to you, your team and the company to be assessed against an irrelevant goal. You can only refresh goals when you realize there’s a gap; they need to be integrated into your weekly work to see when execution priorities and goals are misaligned then determine whether the goal or execution needs to change. By resetting and re-communicating goals upline and downline when change is necessary, you get the motivational and professional benefits.

5. Measure success more frequently.
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of achievement, so set metrics and milestones in smaller increments to enjoy that satisfaction more often. If you’re a manager, driving toward goals will become habit much more quickly when they’re present in your work and you’re getting frequent satisfaction from progress. It’s just as powerful to recognize your team member’s progress and achievements every week – it’s a natural propellant. 83% of employees say recognition is more rewarding than cash!

You don’t go to work to fail, so get serious about success.

Define goals, objectives and metrics for success then bring them into focus in the work you do every week. You’ll enjoy more success, satisfaction and alignment, and you’ll enjoy the year-end review moment even more.

Want more info on setting inspiring goals and leading your team to great achievement? Check out this video and companion infographic.



3 Tips For Managers To Achieve Business Goals

It’s a few weeks into a new quarter of a new year, so now is a great time to self-assess accomplishments on last quarter’s goals and double down for great execution the rest of the year. Beware three behaviors that undermine goal achievement: 1) too many goals to come anywhere close to achievement, 2) too little attention to goals after they’re set, and 3) inability to compare the value of goals set with new requests and opportunities that arise.

After a few quarters, this can create a cycle that makes goal setting seem fruitless and work less fulfilling for leaders, managers and their teams. Achieve more next quarter with these 3 tactics:

1. Set Fewer Goals

It’s easy to add bullets to a PowerPoint with goals but incredibly hard for a team to achieve more than 2-3 truly material results in a quarter. In Q3, ruthlessly prioritize and hone in on the one thing that really must be achieved to make your year and your quarter. Add the second most valuable outcome, one stretch goal, and stop there. Resist the pressure to list anything that is immaterial, that you can’t come close to achieving , or the team lacks the capacity (or discipline) to achieve.

2. Quantify Results To Set The Bar For Your Time

Use revenue, customers, profit, market share or other clearly material metric to define goal achievement. How much does achievement of these particular goals matter? These metrics quantify the value of goal achievement, and that becomes the bar that all other activities must exceed to get your time and your team’s. If other activities aren’t quantifiably more valuable, don’t take time away from goal achievement. Check out this manager’s tool kit on defining and communicating goals and metrics; it can help prompt thinking through the goal setting process and provides a ready-made template for communicating to the team.

3. Go From “Agreed To Achieved” Every Week

Messages and distractions overwhelm even the best teams; without relentless focus it’s easy to devolve into executing on our inbox instead of our goals. To break this bad habit, schedule weekly meetings to reiterate goals, agree to truly important work that week, and report status at the end of each week… relentlessly. It’s much easier to hold each other accountable and share common intentions when everyone is clear on the goal and how their work ties to its achievement. Use status reports rather than staff meetings to communicate progress made; in weekly meetings, celebrate prior week achievement, adjust course and clarify the next tranche of work.

We’re all measured by our execution against goals, so focusing your time and efforts is essential.
There’s so much noise in email, chat, irrelevant alerts and personal social media, goals are harder than ever to see and achieve. This quarter and next, try committing to fewer goals but laser-focused execution — it may be a shift in habit and some may resist, but the rewards of achieving goals with a wholly engaged team will be gratifying for all.

Here’s to a great quarter!

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Use Your Time Wisely — You Don’t Have As Much Of It As You Think!

As management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”

Time is the greatest lever we have to achieve business goals, yet most leaders don’t measure how it’s spent or manage it as scarce capacity.  When time is viewed as an infinite resource, it sets up employee engagement challenges and fatigued thinking.  This week, give closer attention and intention to how you leverage time with these 3 practices:

Recognize time is a finite resource and plan accordingly.
Create a time allocation plan for yourself and your team this morning to use your limited capacity wisely for the next 90 days.  Include target percentages for making decisions, motivating people, addressing issues, assessing goal achievement, and engaging customers.  As with any budget, ruthlessly prioritize so the time you plan to spend isn’t greater than the time you actually have — if it’s not in the budget, delegate it or drop it.

Align time used directly to goal achievement. 
Be as systematic aligning time to goal achievement week over week as you are setting goals at the start of the year and measuring performance at the end.  Chasing status reactively and consuming time on work that doesn’t contribute to goals waste precious time.  Define 1-3 streams of work that support achievement of each goal, and ask your team to do a short weekly report on action item progression by stream.  Put the goals and streams into the report template to ensure week over week linkage between the team’s work, everyone’s time and your business goals.

Take some time to experience gratitude.
Complement more intentional use of time and better time-goal alignment with 10 minutes a day to identify and acknowledge great work or effort – ideally the 10 minutes before you leave the office.   It’s renewing and energizing for you and others.  This habit will strengthen your empathy skills and remind others why they’re investing their time to help achieve your business goals!

Put these practices to work this week to increase your productivity and satisfaction; join the conversation on this and other topics to share what works best for you.

P.S.   Consider using Workboard for easy, effective status reporting.  You define goals and workstreams, your team tracks action items by stream and reports from their list; Workboard automatically distills their reports so you know how to focus your time and theirs.

How to Embrace Failure and Make It Work In Your Favor

We all know failure isn’t the end of the world, but it is not easy to embrace. Without clear thinking, fear of failure and failure itself can undermine our leadership styles, performance, judgment and even our happiness. According to one study, workers who feel unsupported not only face higher anxiety, but also experience lower performance. Here are three tips for embracing fear and failure and getting value from them this week:

1. Use fear to focus but don’t let it become your focus
Fear is a powerful sensation; it can be a great asset or hold you back.  Use it as an alert system: it signals where you need to put attention, loose ends that need to tie out, or weakness in your plan or product. Once you’ve gotten the signal, focus on it directly and let go of the uncomfortable sensation. This week try listening to fear as a source of wisdom, then write down the signal and your response plan to address whatever triggered it. Does prompt attention to the signal relieve the stressful aspect, clear your mind and catalyze you forward?

2.  Let the team fail to increase its success
Teams that fear failure and its consequence deliver mediocre results over time.  This happens because they work and are rewarded for predictable outcomes and not for reaching beyond certainty toward possibility — how do you react when they fall short? To empower your team to achieve beyond expectations, create a regular vocabulary and process for defining committed outcomes and stretch objectives week over week. A recognition system that celebrates achievement of commit goals and the stretch even when the goal is not achieved will inspire your team to go beyond predictable to impressive results.

3.  Consider your failures beginnings rather than endings
Failure is as inevitable as death and taxes, and can make us just as uncomfortable! But each failure opens new doors and presents new data. Instead of getting stuck on the failure itself, focus your attention on the data that came with it and the new door opened. Consider 5 past failures: what did you learn – could you be where you are now without them?  You’ve probably learned more from failure than any other source of wisdom. Rather than feeling dread and discomfort, embrace failure’s value as a teacher, get curious about the data it offers, and open to where it leads you next. (You may even find you fail less when you don’t fear it.)

I hope this helps you build velocity.  Be fearless this week!

P.S.  If you’re putting these tips to work this week, capture your plan of action and the teams’ commit and stretch goals in Workboard.  It will be easier to communicate, track from staff meeting to meeting, execute plans and recognize great performance.

4 Essential Qualities Of Leadership

Leadership is a personal quality and behavior, not a role or title. And it’s an increasingly important capability as enterprise diversity and distances between people increase. Distance and diversity are compounded by a massive gap between people, their work, goals and feedback. While it’s always been important for senior managers and executives to lead, it’s never been more important for front-line managers to do so.

Why is leadership at every level so important? Just 7% of people understand the goals of their organization and what they need to do to achieve them. Ironically, 76% of people say they use daily to-do lists. As many as 30% of U.S. workers work from home and many more work across different locations. It’s now both more important and more difficult to make the mission clear and relevant, engage people in goal achievement, drive accountability and give regular feedback to physically distributed team members.

While goals may be set top down, they are achieved — or fail — on the front line. If you are a first-, second- or third-line manager, you play a crucial part in translating abstract company vision into personally compelling mission for your direct reports. Elevating your leadership skills elevates your team’s results and your career. Cultivate these four qualities to expand your leadership impact and effectiveness, whether you have a team of seven or 700:

1. Clarity and vision
Leaders understand the problem or opportunity in front of them at its most essential level. Rather than the symptoms or byproducts of it, they understand the heart of it. They can articulate a clear, compelling vision for the solution to the problem or path forward to opportunity. Curiosity and deep interest in the intricacies of customer needs and markets build greater capacity in this leadership quality.

2. Ability to engage people realization and achievement 
Leaders engage others to solve the problem or realize the opportunity identified. It’s not only motivating or inspiring people to achieve; leaders can break that achievement down into actions, then coach and hold people accountable on the path to goal. It’s where the proverbial rubber meets the road — realizing the vision through effort, tenacity and execution. Build leadership credibility and influence by demonstrating a high level of effort and execution every day.

Elon Musk quote

3. Heightened awareness of change in the environment
Leaders are highly aware of the continuous change around them. They are adept at monitoring it, and quickly refactoring their problem/solution or opportunity statements to reflect the ever-changing environment. They know that anticipating where the puck will be and their response speed will improve their industry position (and their career trajectory). Build strength in this area by consciously — even voraciously — broadening and sharpening your listening skills.

4. Ability to influence and bring about change
When they combine clear vision, an ability to articulate a plan to execute and acute listening, leaders are more effective at driving the change they want to realize. More importantly, leaders combine greater understanding of change with genuine intent to provide real solutions and value. This amplifies their impact and influence — not because they talk a lot, but because they provide valued insights, assistance and answers. To amplify this quality, put your internal or external customer squarely at the center of your actions and conversation; the shift from self to others will vastly improve your results.

According to Deloitte, CEOs want more people to demonstrate leadership skills — it’s their most pressing talent concern: only 14% believe there are enough leaders in their management pipeline. Unfortunately, only 5% of these executives report having robust management and leadership development programs in place to help potential leaders build skills and rise through the organization!

While some managers feel overworked or stretched too thin, for motivated managers it’s a perfect time to build leadership competencies and skills. The need and the rewards are there! Many people now use a Line Manager App to increase their capacity to lead and improve their management efficiency. They spend less time on management fundamentals and step up to become the leader they want to be.

Leadership isn’t a job, it’s the way you do a job. Lead the way!

photo credit: Elon Musk via photopin (license)

5 Tips To Overcome Being Overwhelmed At Work

Work stresses people out. In fact, 1 million Americans call in sick over stress every day and 25% say work is the most stressful thing in their lives. The volume of work, urgency of quarter or year end, competing demands and the need to succeed can merge into a sensation of being overwhelmed. When we’re overwhelmed, we rarely do or deliver our best.

These five tips can help you reclaim control over your time and your experience so you achieve real results with less angst:

1. Organize for Lower-Stress Success

Eliminate stress and increase your odds of achieving your goals by 64% by writing down what you need to do to achieve goals. If you manage a team, insist on transparency on what each team member is doing, where their attention is focused and what their progress is. If you don’t have a tool to see progress on actions and goals yourself, do a morning check-in with the team to align scarce resources in the remaining days. With clarity and transparency, you’ll stop worrying about what isn’t getting done and have more time and the facts to use days efficiently and effectively.

2. Prioritize Ruthlessly

Not everything on your list or the team’s can — or even should — get done. Ruthlessly prioritize where your time and your team’s should go every morning for the rest of the year. Spend your energy on work that ties clearly and directly to your quarter or annual goals and metrics … in other words, those things that actually move the needle for you and your boss. Using the matrix below can help distinguish what matters and make it easier to stop doing and stressing about the rest.

3. Don’t Sacrifice Yourself

When you’re most busy and stressed out (and the weather is bad), it’s tempting to sacrifice exercise and other healthy habits — don’t. Exercise and healthy eating reduce stress and increase your productivity as well as your perceived happiness. In fact, 20 minutes of exercise several days a week improves your happiness and productivity every day of the week! So set aside time even if it’s indoor yoga, stretching or working your own stairwell.

4. Change Perspective If You Can’t Change Circumstances

Examine the root causes of stress and the sensation of being overwhelmed. Which are self-inflicted, which are external and which are your reaction to internal and external conditions? If you can change the circumstances, then set out a plan to effect those changes to create long-term improvement. If you can’t change the circumstances and situation, consider changing how you relate to them. Ask a trusted advisor to give you a candid assessment of where you could revamp your response and reaction to the situation and be open to what you hear. In more entrenched situations, consider a professional coach to help increase your capacity to execute and achieve under duress.

5. Lighten Up

When you find your anxiety or anger rising, stop what you’re doing to stop what you’re thinking. Take a short walk or stand, stretch and take a few deep breaths. Try a few “compassion breaths” to relax and lighten your perceived load:

  • Focus your attention on the sensation of anger, anxiety or stress — is it anxiety about lack of time, fear of failing or forgetting something critical?
  • Rather than shifting away from the sensation, hold it in your attention.
  • Now think about all the millions of people in the world you don’t know that have that same anxiety or worry.
  • Take a long inhale, imaging that you are breathing in the collective anxiety, anger or stress of those millions of people.
  • Exhale, imagining that you are breathing out calm, peace, success or the antidote to those worries to all who experience it, including yourself.
  • Repeat three times, deepening your breath and holding it in longer each time and being more genuine in the compassion you convey with each out breath.

At the end, your sense of being alone with pressure will be replaced with more compassion for yourself and others — and your load will be lighter.

Unfortunately, when you are overwhelmed is the most difficult time to break the cycle – but shifting to and building the habits of success is infinitely better than staying mired in overwhelm:

  • Set and share clear goals aligned with organization objectives
  • Allocate your efforts to achieving your goals above all else
  • Ensure you have the capacity to achieve goals operationally, emotionally, and physically

With more professional and personal capacity, you’ll feel and do great!

About the Author: Deidre Paknad is currently the CEO of Workboard, Inc. Workboard provides apps for managers and their teams to share goals, action items, status and feedback and to automate status reports and dashboards.

photo credit: adrian.coto via photopin cc

Getting Things Done Vs. Making An Impact

There is a lot of discussion about productivity, but I’ve always preferred the term velocity. I’ve found that my velocity to goal determines my career velocity. By that I mean the speed and efficiency with which I achieve my goals determines the speed and degree of career growth I experience. If I use half the time and half the people, capital and other resources to achieve the goal as planned or as a peer, there will be career reward and recognition. As importantly, the organization can then apply the unused time, capital, people and other resources to achieving more than it planned or its peers — a double dividend of high-velocity goal achievement. And of course, the reverse is also true … taking twice the time and resources is bad for you and the company!

I love the sensation of forward movement, low-friction and trajectory that velocity evokes. The term productivity doesn’t quite get there – primarily because it’s easy to confuse the satisfaction of crossing things off your to-do list with having a material impact on the organization or your career.

Motion or Achievement?

To have a meaningful impact on the organization and gain career growth and professional rewards, what you work on and how you work need to align to achievement of the goals of the organization.

These 5 strategies have helped me and can increase your career velocity:

  1. Do work that matters. It is often not the easiest work … it’s work that clearly aligns with and advances the economic and strategic goals of the organization. Don’t know the strategic goals and economics? Work on that next!
  2. Deliver excellent work. It is often not the first and fastest thing you do or deliver. It is the best you can do or deliver. Set a high bar for yourself.
  3. Value time as money. Because that’s what it is. Act like it’s your money being burned when you burn time. Get to end of job on time and then reach for more.
  4. Learn everything you can. By doing and engaging, not by observing and judging. Then use what you learn to improve your work product and grow your impact capacity.
  5. Choose a full experience. Choose to engage and experience the work and what the environment has to offer — especially when it’s not a walk in the park. You’ll build skills and durability much faster. When you choose less than full engagement, you lose.

For a chuckle and to underscore the point, here is the opposite of these 5 strategies: functioning at a snail’s pace doing irrelevant, mediocre work that you’re not proud of and which is completely disconnected from leadership’s goals while learning nothing, gossiping plenty and staying disengaged on the sidelines.

Chances are you’ve worked with someone just like this, but never wanted to be that person!

What do you think? What are your velocity strategies and tactics?

photo credit: eflon via photopin cc