Leading to Outcomes

Leading to Outcomes

One of the more successful strategies I have seen managers take in their organizations has been shifting their focus from managing the process to managing for outcomes. In the age of employee empowerment one of the best ways to allow your team to feel like they have a say in the work is to allow them some flexibility in the process and approach provided that they are able to deliver the desired outcomes and meet the organizational targets. The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt I would suggest that the act of simply managing for outcomes isn't enough in the current corporate environment. Setting goals and offering some flexibility in the process and approach is more effective than micro-managing every step of the work and is an improvement over older management science but if you retain the...
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Keep Your Head In The Game

Keep Your Head In The Game

I've taken a bit of a hiatus from writing over the past couple months because I felt I really needed to refocus myself a little bit and give myself the time and space to step up from the weeds of life and career and get some perspective on how I want to frame my future.  I found myself not feeling like I was progressing myself internally in a meaningful way, and I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes: It’s only when you drop yesterday’s assumptions that you can glimpse tomorrow’s patterns and possibilities. To see deeper, unsee first. – Umair Haq (more…)...
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New Year Goal Setting

New Year Goal Setting

While I don't necessarily subscribe to the concept of New Years resolutions, I do believe that the New Year provides us with a good annual marker to check in on how we are doing against our personal roadmap and validate that our goals are still relevant and aligned to where we want to go. It's an exercise that actually should be done more frequently (quarterly for example), but as we get into the year and the business of life takes hold again I recognize that many of us forget to check back in with our goals as regularly as we should. Maybe that should be goal #1 on all of our lists this year. So what should our annual goal setting and check in session look like? First, if you have done this exercise before you should pull out the previous version of your personal plan and spend some time reviewing it. Reflect on your 5, 10, and 20 year targets to validate...
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Shooting Arrows at the Moon

Shooting Arrows at the Moon

About a week ago stories started surfacing about the possibility of resurrecting the Avro Arrow as a potential replacement for the troubled F-35 Stealth Fighter purchase for the Royal Canadian Air Force. For those who don't share my adoration for the Arrow (otherwise known as the CF-105) I'll provide a brief summary of its short life as the world's most advanced fighter jet. In 1952 the RCAF submitted the Final Report of the All-Weather Interceptor Requirements Team to Avro Canada - an aircraft manufacturing company located in Malton, Ontario. In it they outlined the features that would be required to protect against the threat of jet powered high altitude Soviet bombers capable of dropping nuclear weapons on North American targets. The resulting design achieved what was considered to be impossible at the time with test flights starting in March 1958. Through the pilot and test process the aircraft achieved a top speed of Mach 1.98 (although that was not the limit of...
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The Power of Radical Goals

The Power of Radical Goals

How do you set goals in your organization today?  Surely by now we all define our goals according to the guidelines of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely), so everythings great right? What if I told you that SMART goals are self-limiting?  What if I told you that if you insist on defining SMART goals that your business will not achieve its potential and is at risk of being disrupted? Heresy right? Let me explain. Under conventional wisdom, we spend lots of time defining goals that we believe are 'stretch' goals, but that we are certain are attainable if our team achieves their potential.  We define specific measures, set the bar at what seems like realistic and attainable heights (but just far out enough as to require us to perform at a high level to attain them), and then we set our team free to deliver on those goals. Think of the types of goals you set for your teams today:  achieve year-over-year sales growth of 10%;...
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