Driving results is the key measurement of success for any business leader, not only in regards to the magnitude and speed of achieving these results but also their sustainability. This formula for success is accomplished by making decisions that support the needs of the corporation today while also supporting its long-term strategies. As a business leader, how do you balance the "need for speed" in your decision making while formulating or supporting the best solution?
I have identified three modes of reflection that have positively effected my successful clients’ decisions. In fact, these usages of the pause button have actually accelerated their results. But don't worry because I am not about to go Deepak Chopra on you, nor am I going to take you through a guided meditation. I will say, though, that I do believe reflection to be a best practice for successful leadership.
In truth, these reflections take just seconds but the impact they can have on your interactions with others is incredibly significant. Think about that when you are next sitting with your team, remember to incorporate these three bookmarks into your thought process and I guarantee you will come away with better results.
REFLECTION # 1 – Listen & Pause
I can't tell you how many times I am in a business meeting and the leader interrupts the individual talking to help finish their thought. Now I’m not sure if this is a game of who is the smartest one in the room or just a total lack of patience. Either way, if you want buy-in from an individual or group that you are asking opinions of, then I suggest you listen to what they have to say, pause and reflect, then respond. This simple interaction has two very important outcomes:
A) It tells the other person that you respect their opinion enough to give it thought.
B) By listening and acknowledging contrary opinions in the meeting you lessen the probability of them resurfacing later in the implementation process which, as we have all experienced, slows down the total progression.
REFLECTION # 2 – Reality Check
Driving your organization to excel through stretch goals and year over year improvements are ways to accelerate your results, but what happens when these goals are disconnected from reality? More importantly, what happens to your organization when you are the last one to recognize this divergence? Lost time and energy on projects and goals, which will cost you and your company lots of money, that’s what happens. So the next time you are trying to help solve a nagging strategic issue, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself – are we realistically looking at all of the facts? Because when it comes to business, nothing beats a realistic strategy backed up by facts, facts that reflect the reality of your end markets, economic conditions and, of course, your organizational capabilities. The more your goals deal with business reality, the more quickly you will develop actions that will ensure your business’ success.
REFECTION # 3 – Links to Strategy
Of course I had to leave the most important reflection for last! I have written many times about the need for consistency from leaders. Consistency demands having a clear and well-defined culture and a strategy that will support and reaffirm the desired environment and drive the level of success your business requires. Subsequently, as you are in this meeting and everyone is in the game and you believe the actions reflect the reality of the day, that’s when you need to take a moment. Take a moment to find the bridge from the decisions made today to the key strategic pillars that define your company’s success both presently and in the future. This bridge will not only reaffirm your strategic direction but it will also increase the speed and results of your decisions.
Once you have accomplished this trifecta you will now have the capability to leverage the full strength of your organization and to maximize your results. So take some time and reflect on these three bookmarks and remember …Listen, Reality and Strategy.