To lead a team well is really quite hard. The concepts are easy, but the execution is often difficult. One of the things that is exceedingly difficult is getting people to focus on the things that really make a difference.
If you want to build a high performing team, you need to help narrow their focus down to the things that make a really big difference. This is especially true in the 21st Century. When all the other teams in the world are scrambling to do more. The way to get people focussed is to do less and focus on execution. In my keynote speaking engagement and workshops, this is what people want to hear about a lot. They want to know how to build high performance culture by honing in on the big ticket items.
But sometimes we need to broaden that focus. In the planning stage of the year, we need to look outside of what we are doing and just gather as much information as possible. This is where we find ideas that might cause the next great shift in our performance. In doing this, most people just look at what their competitors and their industry are doing, but here are some other ideas:
If you want to engage customers, look at some of the social media platforms that are getting massive engagement. Why are people getting addicted and what can you learn from that?
If you want your people to be more productive, then take a look at what some start-ups are doing - how are they making things work on a shoestring budget?
If you want your people to produce better quality, look at some QA-heavy industries like foods and manufacturing to see what process they put in place to make sure their quality is of the highest level.
This is a great exercise to get people to brainstorm and think outside the box for new initiatives and strategies that just might help your team find the next level. It’s also a great exercise in innovation that can stimulate thinking and help people start challenging the status quo.
Once you pick the initiatives, it comes back to narrow focus for the rest of the year. Spending a couple months with broad focus and brainstorming is a great stimulus. But if you want to really execute - you have to narrow your teams focus and make sure the behaviours they choose are affecting the things that really matter.