What got you HERE, will not get you THERE
You have worked out what you want for your career. You are ambitious, driven and courageous. You have your future mapped out and high expectations around what you and your team can achieve.
You have tasted success and you have “lucked” into some really great opportunities by being in the right place at the right time. Up ‘until now, your career has unfolded pretty much as planned.
So why have all the great opportunities dried up?
It can be scary, hugely frustrating and very unfamiliar territory for many high achieving professionals. You’re doing what you have always done but it is no longer getting you recognised, rewarded or promoted.
Many leaders make the mistake of believing that, provided they continue to do what they have always done, they will keep making progress in their career. Let’s face it – it has worked well so far.
But sadly, the habits, actions and thinking that got you here will not necessarily take you to the next level.
In the early years of your career, purely working hard, getting the job done and continuing to grow your technical skills was all it took for the accolades to roll in.
But, as a mentor once said to me, as we move to a new level, we need to overcome new devils. This might be to overcome our fear of speaking up, letting go of our habit of over-delivering, learning to delegate more effectively or stepping up to a new level of strategic thinking.
It is the same for growing your team results. A new level of results will take a new level of thinking, new decision making strategies and even more courageous action.
Last week I worked with a leadership team at a two day retreat to create the foundations for their five year strategy. Over the past 18 months, they have operated in survival mode to take the business out of the red and back into the black. They are now achieving good results and are poised to create great results. We acknowledged that what it took for the business to merely survive was not what was needed to build an exciting, thriving organisation that would be seen as the leader in their field.
Yes, strategy is a critically important element but great results start with the best people playing their part to the best of their ability.
Our first step towards exceptional team results was to look at what each member of the leadership team needed to do differently to create a new level of results. For some that meant tweaking the way they operated within the leadership team, for others it meant identifying areas of personal growth such as improving their communication skills, collaborating more or remaining focused on the key business priorities.
Great results for the team start with each team member performing to their potential. The outcome of the team will only be as good as the weakest link. Just like in an orchestra, all the musicians need to put in the work to grow their skill in their particular area of expertise, but also to work together in harmony to create beautiful music.
If what got you here, wont get you there, what do you need to do to create some new outcomes?
1. Get clear on where THERE is. Start by getting clear on what you want for your career, your leadership and your team. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your team to achieve? It is only once we know what we want to achieve, that we recognise what we need to do differently to get there.
2. Seek feedback. Honest feedback is the foundation for change. We are usually blind to our own limitations, challenges and behaviours holding us back. As one of the leaders at the retreat said, feedback can feel a little like a slap in the face. It can be painful, but not knowing can be even worse.
3. Commit to change. Given that what got you here will not get you there; commitment to change is the next step. Commit to delegating more, taking more courageous action, creating a more engaging team environment, providing more feedback to the team, taking time out for creative thinking. Commit to whatever it is that will take to get you and your team “There.”