Focused Leadership is a book which provides you a synopsis of the approach I diligently crafted, refined and applied in order to get the leadership results I desired over my 30-year career leading large and small organization in Fortune 500 companies as well venture capital backed start-ups. In Focused Leadership I have incorporated a series of informative and concise discussions regarding my leadership approach, which I now call the “10-Step Approach to Leading and Winning”.
Step 7: Set a Course Lined with Short-term Successes
You cannot expect your team to know or understand every aspect of the operational strategy required to fulfill your vision. It is up to you, as the leader, to set the proper course and provide the strategic bearings for getting from here to there.
In addition to regularly articulating their vision, effective leaders also spend time illustrating how best to strategically achieve the goals, overcome the challenges and reach the vision. At times, leaders must clearly explain a team member’s strategic role in fulfilling the vision and meeting the challenges. This type of “on-going” direction and coaching is not only informational but is also inspirational.
Occasionally, based on the makeup of your team, it may be necessary to coach team members that are in key operational roles. These team members must maintain the mindset required to read strategic “markers” placed in operational environments. Strategic thinking is by nature not inherent in all individuals and may differ in degree among team members. The proper strategic mindset provides your team with the ability to come up with all the best possible solutions for various scenarios. The goal is to have them respond to internal or external factors in a manner consistent with the strategy required to reach your vision. Thinking strategically is also an effective and useful way to create short-term and long-term options which might result in more successful solutions.
Experience over the years has taught me that, along with strategic direction, your team and organization also need to feel that they are making progress toward reaching your vision. A sense of progress is important in order to maintain the passion that your vision provided from the outset. I have found that setting a strategic course lined with short-term successes is an effective and powerful way to provide your team with a true sense of accomplishment.
Short-term successes seem to have the same effect on our psyche and sense of progress as do long-term successes and major accomplishments. Researchers have determined that one of best ways for people to see progress is through short-term successes. Short-term successes seem to set in motion the wheels of motivation, productivity and passion. However, you must remember that short-term successes are only effective when they are visible to the entire team and the victory is closely related to the ultimate goal.
Therefore, to become a more effective leader, you should supplement your vision with “on-going” strategic direction; discretionary coaching on strategic thinking; and a course lined with short-term successes.
Earl Cobb is the author of "Focused Leadership: What You Can Do Today to Become a More Effective Leader", and an American “rags-to-riches” success story. Through his hard work, dedication and faith, Earl has forged an accomplished career as a systems engineer, project/program manager, and gifted entrepreneur. He is also a highly respected senior management executive. He has enjoyed over twenty-five years of success within Fortune 100 companies including Honeywell, Inc., Motorola, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank. He is the former President and CEO of MedContrax, Inc.
You can contact Earl at earl@richerlifellc. You can find his website at www.richerlifellc.com