Empirical evidence shows that the most successfully attained goals are visible, written and motivating. Once you have designed your “Big Picture”, your next step is to break it down into smaller components that can be easily communicated and tracked.
For each strategic initiative, identify what you specifically want to achieve in the upcoming year and develop a corresponding action plan that outlines how that outcome will be accomplished. Each action plan must have steps that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-sensitive). The SMART format for setting goals is a well-recognized technique.
In his 1968 article “Towards a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives,” Edwin Locke stated that employees were motivated by clear goals that have 5 characteristics: clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback and task complexity.
As a leader, you must create a link between your “Big Picture” and the execution of your action plans by creating drama that encompasses all of Locke’s characteristics. For example, we love it when the underdog wins. Create that environment. Rev up your employees like Aragorn did with his followers in the last “Lord of the Rings” film, when he says, “There may be a day when the courage of men fails, but today is not this day!” Then his outnumbered army charged into the enemy.
Emotion and drama are the critical elements that tie a good plan with human needs. Nike did exactly that in the 1960’s with their well know slogan, “Crush Adidas.” In two words, they challenged their employees and created a David vs. Goliath spirit. Steve Jobs is an example of a leader who pushes people’s emotional buttons to drive Apple’s performance.
While breaking down your “Big Picture” into executable action plans is a critical element in your company’s performance, accompanying them with drama will increase your success.
I would love to hear your stories of how other companies have done this.
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