by Mark Samuel
When your team just isn’t stepping up to produce the results you desperately need, months can be wasted in assessment to determine the cause and how to change it. Often even more time is then invested in strategic planning sessions, project plans, KPIs, balanced scorecards, and training — all in an effort to get a major shift. And sure, things get a little better, but you still feel stuck, like you aren’t making real progress.
If you’ve had this experience, don’t worry! We have three steps that will launch your team into the Breakthrough State you’ve been looking for—your B STATE.
While most leaders know what changes they want to accomplish, few understand how to make those changes happen, especially when there is pressure for massive change in a relatively short period of time.
Here are three steps that together drive rapid, dramatic change:
1st – Clarify your B STATE Future Picture of Success
2nd – Create new Habits of Collective Execution
3rd – Establish Shared Accountability with a Proactive Recovery Plan
1) Clarify your B STATE Future Picture of Success
Rather than looking at the past, start by clarifying your future B STATE. The fastest, most powerful way to begin getting unstuck is to identify your external business drivers. External drivers include the economy, competition, new technology, new customer demands, and changing government regulations – all of which you don’t control but must respond to in order to grow your business.
With these in mind, rally your team to develop an agreed-upon B STATE Future Picture of Success that includes:
- A clear, complete description of what you want the business to look like in one to three years
- The fundamental changes you need to make in how you work as a team if you are to succeed
- The outcomes or benefits you anticipate as a result
2) Create new Habits of Collective Execution
While new technology and lean processes can improve an organization or team’s effectiveness, it doesn’t prevent the breakdowns brought on by ineffective decision-making, poor coordination, conflicting priorities, unresolved problems, or conflicts that result in crisis.
These breakdowns haven’t been solved by improving processes, developing new skill, or building awareness. The solution lies in changing the organization’s Collective Habits of Execution. Any top performing professional athletic team knows that this is the foundation of excellence, yet this is largely ignored in businesses throughout the world.
Your current state (your A State) is the sum total of your existing collective “habits.” These habits represent the way your people automatically respond today. Without newly established and agreed upon expectations and habits necessary for success (your B STATE), people naturally rely on their old habits, individual preferences, styles, and functional priorities to drive execution – without true accountability to anyone for their approach.
To get dramatically different results, you have to develop new Collective Habits of Execution as a team— new ways that people automatically respond. You create these solely based on your B STATE Future Picture of Success. For example, we:
- Effectively agree and follow-through on decisions
- Take shared accountability for our top priorities
- Surface and resolve issues quickly and collectively
- Include those affected early in our planning
- Hold each other accountable even at a peer to peer level for coming through on commitments
- Develop ourselves, each other and our staff to support our future picture
But even if everyone is on board (which is the norm in the beginning), under pressure we all go back to our old habits. So there is a third step that is absolutely essential to make this type of rapid breakthrough transformation possible.
3) Establish Shared Accountability and Proactive Recovery Plans
In any top performing athletic team, new agreed upon Habits for Collective Execution are required individually and collectively. We call it Shared Accountability. Not only does everyone abide by the new Habits, they also assist each other in developing and refining those habits. Teams set regular times to monitor and measure adherence to the habits and progress toward the desired outcomes.
Knowing that it is human nature to revert back to old habits under pressure, high performing teams develop Proactive Recovery Plans. A Proactive Recovery Plan is an agreement for how they will surface and support each other when someone deviates from the new collective habits. It’s not about holding people to a standard of perfection but being prepared for the reality that we all have bad days and will need support to anchor new habits as a team.
Collective Habits of Execution always precede business results; improve your Collective Habits of Execution and business results will quickly follow.
Collective Habits of Execution also represent the behaviors that lead to improved culture and morale, clear and aligned expectations, and optimized performance and relationships for dynamically sustainable results. When Collective Execution is optimized for sustainable results, it automatically represents the highest values of that organization, including trust, integrity, accountability, learning, ethical behavior, balance, fairness, and partnership.