The Only Thing More Important Than Where You Take Your Team
As leaders, whether we like it or not, we’re held to higher standards than others. We’re often judged by the results our team or those we lead can accomplish. In a results-driven world, results-driven leadership is undoubtedly something all organizations need. The expectations are high, and before we know it, pressure begins to mount. However, we know this comes with the territory once we take on a leadership role. We accept the challenge of influence.
While results are critical to any organization’s success, there is something more important than where we’re going: How we get there.
Organizations with an “achieve results or else” culture and sentiment among their leaders may enjoy success in the short-term. However, all it takes is one gap in integrity, one verbal bashing that goes too far, or one step outside or down from the moral high ground to ruin a company completely. All we have to do is look at stories from Enron, Uber, WeWork, and others to remind ourselves that results are important, but how we get there is even more significant.
Focus on How
You may be wondering, then, how leaders can ensure the way they and their team achieve results remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The answer always has been and always will be to focus on values.
Values guide us both at the organization and individual level. Vision paints the picture of what things will be like when we get to our desired destination, delivering the desired results. Goals give us direction, and action plans help us stay the course.
There are two types of values for leaders to consider: personal and company. For every decision we make and step we take, as long as we look through the lens of our values, how we deliver results will never be compromised.
For example, consider every mistake or wrong decision you or someone on your team has made. The wrong decision usually started by focusing on what we wanted, as opposed to what we valued. We may want ice cream every single night, but we value our health along with our mental and physical fitness. Therefore, we choose to limit our ice cream consumption each week. The same applies to your ability to lead yourself and the team. Focus on your personal values as well as your organization’s values.
Determine Your Personal Values
Simply ask yourself, “What do I value most in this world?” Write down four to five personal values, such as time with family, learning, health and fitness, integrity, honesty, creativity, compassion, or whatever you value most.
Challenge yourself to stay true to these personal values as you make decisions, big and small. The decisions include everything from how you spend your time at work and away from the office to how you choose to spend your company’s budget dollars for your division or team.
How you go about doing what you do fills the chapters of your personal leadership story. It’s your personal leadership brand. Stay true to who you are. It’s how you’ll keep yourself productive and purposeful while inspiring others to do the same. It’s also the leadership legacy you’ll leave behind as you grow, develop, and move on to various opportunities in your future.
Understand and Live Your Company’s Values
As leaders, we’re stewards of our organization’s mission, which will eventually bring its vision to life. To be true stewards, we must first understand our organization’s values so that we can tell the story of why they’re important and what happens when we live them. Next, when leaders embody the company’s values, living them every single day, others see the impact, feel the positivity, and slowly but surely follow suit.
If your organization’s values include things like creativity, courage, or teamwork, then be the person who champions change, inspiring others to think outside the box, be bold, and share their ideas with others. If your organization’s values include openness, courtesy, respect, honesty, or diversity, be the leader among your own set of peers who reaches out and fosters relationships through old-fashioned conversation and collaboration.
The more you live your company’s values, the more frequently your company will see those values in action, on the front lines, and in meaningful situations as opposed to merely displayed proudly in the hallways of the office.
Bringing It All Together
• Remember, how you get there is almost more important than where you’re taking your team.
• Determine your personal values and develop a clear picture of who you want to be, and that will guide you in how you do what you do. How you do what you do and who you’re becoming will tell the tale of your leadership brand.
• Understand and live your company’s values every day. The more you live them, the more you lift them off the poster in the back office and put them into play in real-life, meaningful situations.
Focusing on how you do the work will lead you and your organization exactly where you need to go every single time.