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Leaders – Empower Team Members For 2024 And Achieve Your Goals Together

Written by: Karen Brown, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Karen Brown

In your position as a company leader, you are likely to generate goals and objectives for the coming year. While the responsibility for achieving them ultimately falls on your shoulders, you need solid contributions and high-level execution from all team members to hit the targets. In reality, you do not have sole possession of these goals; you have joint ownership with the entire team.

Group of business people meeting in a seminar conference

Setting the goals is usually the easy part; achieving them is much harder. The new issue is that leaders aren’t providing their teams with the updated strategies and actions necessary to attain these goals. Making matters worse, many teams were unable to hit their targets in 2023 because of uncertain market conditions; needless to say, the Covid years of 2020 and 2021 likely saw an even bigger deficit.


Against the backdrop of three straight years in which a significant percentage of companies fell short of their objectives by virtually all measures, we now have a workforce that is a bit gun-shy, concerned that their losing streak will continue. And peppering them with mandates or ultimatums about how “This can’t happen again” or “We’d better turn things around” is unlikely to have the desired effect quite the opposite, in fact.


There’s a logical place for leaders to begin if they want to have a positive impact: stop thinking about the goals themselves and start focusing on the results. This will lead to providing team members with actionable items to help overcome the paralysis they may be feeling with one or more substandard years under their collective belts.


Recently, I ran a workshop that provided a company’s leaders with a four-part program to help them achieve their results for 2024. The program is designed to provide leaders with the tools to Empower, Unify, Innovate, and Support all team members through their own leadership as well as encourage co-leadership of the team.


When team members lead each other, it amplifies the chances of success exponentially. Here are the program components, which are executed by a team leader in a virtual or in-person meeting:


Empower through achievement


Since we’re heading into a new year, start with a team meeting in which you ask this question to everyone: “What are YOUR wins for the year [2023], in the face of adversity or uncertainty?” Qualify this exercise by saying that these should be what THEY consider to be wins; anyone else’s opinion is irrelevant. This not only allows them to feel a sense of pride in what they have achieved, but they are also compelled to define what constitutes a win in their minds. Continue until everyone has participated and shared at least two wins (including yourself) or when all wins have been presented.


When team members recall what they have already achieved, it creates a strong sense of empowerment. Our minds tend to forget or file away our achievements, even when they are large or meaningful. This exercise helps to draw them to the surface, proving to us once again that we are capable of great things, even the toughest goals, regardless of the obstacles placed in our path.


To carry this into 2024, utilize these meetings at whatever intervals serve the team and results best; semi-monthly, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.


Unify team members


During this exercise, develop a list of common themes you heard from team members’ wins and then share them with the group. Proceed slowly and deliberately, putting the themes on the screen or whiteboard and looking each team member in the eye on your way around. Then ask each person to give their highest compliment to the team for each of these things.


There is an important qualifier: ask that they precede each compliment with the phrase, “If it weren’t for [NAME OF PERSON]...” In this way, everyone’s language is spoken, which enables the compliments to land deeply with all team members. This also helps team members feel how uniquely valued they are. (NOTE: This is derived from a program we use called RQ, or Relationship Intelligence Quotient = Results through Relationships.)


Capture these compliments individually in a HWN (handwritten note) and give it to each team member when you think they’ve forgotten it – generally two to six weeks in the future.


You can also use this strategy anytime during the year via direct conversation, email, or HWN. This approach expands what each person did and achieved, showing the team the gigantic things they can accomplish together. 


Introduce innovation


If 2024 is anything like 2023 as well as the two years before it there will be uncertainty. When faced with uncertainty, we have to do things differently than we’ve done them in the past, which means being innovative. We have to think at a higher level and have different conversations; to facilitate this, introduce the strategy of innovation.


First, hold regular meetings focused on the same question: “What can we do RIGHT NOW to bring specific results?” Craft this question to fit your specific company, industry, and business. Because it is aspirational and actionable, our brains can’t help but think of ideas. Brainstorm and bring all ideas forward, putting them on a whiteboard or chat screen.


Next, conduct a “lightning round,” asking each member for the viability and probability of success for each idea. Then talk it through with the whole team until you reach a consensus on the best suggestion. (As the leader, you may have more depth or breadth of information, so you may have to guide this a bit if you perceive that a specific idea is the best choice.) You have to make sure ALL are onboard with this idea, otherwise it won’t get carried out. Keep in mind that consensus doesn’t mean everyone agreeing; it’s simply that all team members have been heard and feel acknowledged.


Break the winning idea down into steps, responsibilities, due dates, and accountability. This becomes the first topic of discussion to check on during the next meeting or “stand-up” (short meetings, usually weekly, for checking in on the previous week’s scorecard). When you keep focusing the team on a single issue on an ongoing basis, great ideas are generated, along with enthusiasm for trying them out. What’s to lose, right?


Build a supportive environment


Go around again and ask each team member to identify how they can best be supported to reach their individual and/or company goals; jot this down in chat or on a whiteboard. Then ask how they can deliver this to each other. Have each respective team member capture their commitment to fellow members. Chime in with what you will do in support of the team and hold onto the list so you can do your best to support them accordingly. More importantly, keep them supporting each other. 


Quarterly or every other month, when they are in the thick of working towards goals, have the same kind of meeting, asking about Fears and Frustrations. Get everyone to share their own fears and frustrations in achieving these goals. And once everyone has shared, ask what they would like help with or plan to do to address/obliterate them.


Facilitate the process by assisting each other and pitching in where you can. Build these into monthly 1-on-1 meetings, which also include each team member’s personal and professional aspirations and growth plans. Growth plans are created in accordance with annual performance evaluations and are implemented on the first of the following year (or whatever your company cycle is), so team members can begin working on them right away. They should represent a living, fluid account and plan of where the team member is actively growing.


Keep recognizing each team member’s efforts, contributions, and results always in the way they prefer. Use this alongside company goal tracking, scorecards, and meetings. Remember: support is not a one-time tactic. It needs to become a permanent fixture in the ongoing effort to empower team members and produce remarkable results together.


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Karen Brown Brainz Magazine
 

Karen Brown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Karen Brown is the Founder and CEO of Exponential Results. She draws on 30 years of success as a corporate executive with over 20,000 hours of senior executive coaching experience. Years ago, Ms. Brown discovered the key to greater performance and effectiveness: identifying and addressing blind spots – the repeated thinking patterns that impede success. Using a professional coach and science-based methodologies of how our minds work, she busted through her own blind spots to achieve astounding results. Her discovery led to the creation of Exponential Results’ proprietary Power Pathways™ method, based in neuroscience. She’s also a focused athlete, having competed, as an amateur, in the Ironman World Championship.

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