I didn’t understand this when I was in my first job out of college. I didn’t grasp it fully until I became a leader of people. What was this great learning? If you focus solely on results, you will be chasing the scoreboard with no accurate understanding of your success until it’s too late to do anything about it. You must focus your team on the process, not just the results. If you get the process right, the results take care of themselves.
Process is Everything
The scoreboard, where you see the result, is a lagging indicator of success. Once you know if you won or lost, it’s too late to do anything about it. The process you use to drive toward the results you are aiming for is a leading indicator. If you do these things, in this order, in this way, consistently, over time, you will achieve the results you are looking to achieve.
BECOMING BRILLIANT ON THE BASICS
When legendary football coach Vince Lombardi became coach of the Green Bay Packers, the Packers were not in a good place. A reporter asked Lombardi about his plan to turn the team around and get back to winning. The coach didn’t talk about making a lot of changes in the players or the coaches. He didn’t roll out some new offensive scheme that would baffle their opponents. Instead, Coach Lombardi said, “I am not going to change anything. We will use the same players, the same plays, and the same training system. But we will concentrate on becoming brilliant on the basics. Before I am finished, we will be the best team in the National Football League in kicking, passing, blocking, running, and catching. We will run our plays with such precision that the other side will know what we are going to do but will be unable to stop us. We will be brilliant on the basics.”
WHAT ARE THE BASICS?
The first step when moving from results to process is to get very clear on what are the basics, the process, that leads to your success. What small, seemingly insignificant things that if done every day, consistently, over time, would lead to where you want to go? What are these leading indicators of your success? If you lead a sales team, you could look at the data and determine that if each salesperson made X number of prospecting calls/week, and scheduled X number of client calls and X number of demonstrations, then by the end of the month, they would have closed X number of deals.
ACTION AND ATTITUDES
In his book, The Score Takes Care of Itself, NFL Head Coach Bill Walsh said, “I directed our focus less to the prize of victory than to the process of improving—obsessing, perhaps, about the quality of our execution and the content of our thinking; that is, our actions and attitude. I knew if I did that, winning would take care of itself.” What Coach Walsh discovered is also true for leaders in any industry; obsessing about what people on your team achieved this month or this quarter is not nearly as important as obsessing about the quality of their execution and their specific actions and attitude. If we do the right things in the right way, the results will take care of themselves.
Are you too focused on the end result and not enough on the process that drives the end result? If so, consider these steps to get you moving in the right direction:
- Determine the 3-5 things people on your team need to do every day or every week that will lead to the end result you are trying to achieve (leading indicators of success).
- Establish a standard of operation (how we do things here) that every team member understands and embraces.
- Monitor the daily actions and attitudes of your team members. Ensure you are modeling the actions and attitude you want to see in them.
- Hold each person accountable for the execution of the daily or weekly indicators of success (step 1) and offer help and encouragement where needed, so each person is brilliant on the basics of your process.
About Perry Holley
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with Maxwell Leadership, as well as a published author. As co-host of the Maxwell Leadership Executive Leadership Podcast, he has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.
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