Lately I’ve been re-watching one of my all-time favorite TV series – The West Wing. At the end of episode called “365 Days” at the end of season six. The former Chief of Staff returned to motivate the team to boldly move forward on the president’s agenda in their final year in office. He walked to the white board and wrote a big “365”. And proceeded to remind everyone that they had one year left – and challenged them to think about what big goal(s) they wanted to achieve in their final year. Their eyes lit up as they began to brainstorm ideas for their final year. I think this was profound. The west wing staff was going along just fine; managing fires as they arose, pushing the president’s agenda where they could. But you could sense a restlessness, a lack of the sense of purpose they began the presidency with.
It made me think about how we run our businesses. We often get into a situation where we are managing what comes up. Doing okay. Getting along. And (if we were being honest with ourselves) being mostly reactive. One thing it is not is inspiring. But what if we got our organizations focused on some big, bold, impactful goals?
One important element to your job as a leader is to make sure your team is inspired and focused. You need to ensure they are excited by the future of your organization…and their place in it. There’s almost nothing as inspiring to employees as knowing their organization’s compelling, long-term direction and having big, bold goals to achieve together.
Select ONE Big Thing
Select ONE big goal that feels almost out of reach. How? Go back through your strategic plan and list still unachieved goals. Brainstorm new ones that are aligned with your mission and vision. Through discussion, debate, and prioritization select that one goal that will make the most impact for your customers and your organization.
Lay Out Your 365
Once your team settles on that one primary goal, discuss how it can (and WILL) be achieved. Define how you will measure success. Think about the action steps required to getting it accomplished. List out milestones that will act as shorter-term goals that will help you know you are on-track and making progress. Keep breaking down the action plan until you arrive at a set of clear, manageable action items. Assign action items and get to work!
One caution at this point is to not let your team shrink into thinking too small. Big, longer-term goals can be (and should be) a bit intimidating. Here’s where you can show leadership. Show them that you aren’t scared of big challenges – and neither should they be. Don’t let them remove a goal just because it feels too big. Let them know that you believe in them as team and in their ability to achieve big things.
Bold goal-setting is a critical part of your job as a leader. You have to get comfortable making your team uncomfortable. You have to push them to that next level of achievement. Push them to think broadly about what they can achieve as a team. And then challenge them to make THIS year a significant one. So…what will YOUR team’s next 365 days look like?
I LOVE to help leaders improve and businesses grow!
Together we can make sure your organization has a solid path to the future. Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let’s explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas.