Another snow day! And this time there is easily a good foot of snow to combat. At any age that is a lot of shoveling. The driveway is a project to divide into multiple segments and to tackle one piece at a time over the course of the day rather than all at once. As I was thinking about that it hit me that leaders need to look at some of the large issues they face the same way- segment them to make them manageable and get moving.
Many issues seem insurmountable- a culture that has gone off the rails, inconsistent ethics, a loss of employee engagement or fighting back from a down period for what seems like the umpteenth time. It can be mentally exhausting to stare at these difficult challenges and to try to summon the energy and brain power to overcome them. The longer one is in business the more some of these challenges are recognizable from years past. And the more it is difficult to summon that energy.
Business leaders have to have brain power to achieve success- we all know that. But it isn’t always the smart ones that succeed the most. So there must be more. Energy is one thing required. Leaders need to summon their energy, which is a personal resource that cannot always be applied to everything, and utilize it to find solutions. In the case of the big issues, what is often required is a new way of looking at the challenge in order to find a new way to solve it. Fighting the same battle the same way again may not be anything to get energized over. That is why fresh thinking is required.
Here is where the 720thinking Multipliers can be useful. Results are critical, so figure out the results desired, how they are going to be measured, what success looks like and make sure everyone understands the consequences of not achieving them and the rewards for achieving them. Make it clear that everyone, leader included, will be held to a standard of Accountability, and make sure that standard is clear. Be sure everyone understands the values to be applied to their work and the behaviors that support them and help them see how this work is consistent with and furthers the organizational vision. This will add Integrity to the effort. The leadership team then must provide Motivation to get everyone moving forward and to convince all that the desired change is not a flavor of the moment, but instead a serious organizational imperative. In order to get this big initiative moving, Innovation will be required. Innovation adds energy, it is a catalyst for positive movement. Innovation sometimes requires Courage in multiple ways- courage to try the untried, to trust, courage to let every employee have the degree of independence they need to feel like a partner in the effort; and even the courage to tolerate mistakes in pursuit of the effort.
It is easy to do nothing. It is easy to stand around the water cooler and talk about “tackling that problem” at some indefinite point in the future. I guess if I felt that way about my driveway, I could do nothing because it is a big job, and I would eventually get out- either the snow would eventually melt in March or April or my neighbors would think that I am incapacitated and they would come over and do it for me.
Instead, make a plan. Figure out how to implement change in different stages if the challenge is overwhelming. Engage your brain, your energy and your team. And move forward. Snow days are a great time to think about these things. Instead of sitting around all depressed or wishing you were on a beach or on the slopes some place where you could enjoy the snow, put your time and your head into your business and consider ways to divide and conquer a big obstacle or two.