Experts in Front Line Leadership

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Check Mark Thinking
Achievers can fall into the trap of check-mark thinking. They view corporate change as a to-do list. Mission statement – check, Vision – check, Told them what I expect – check, Metrics in place – check.
The busy executive then moves on the other things because he or she thought they had “done” everything on the list. Then they begin to see things start to unravel and quickly blame others for not executing properly.
Check Mark Thinking
Assuming things are “done” simply because you launched them or communicated them once is a recipe for organizational disaster. Imagine if McDonalds or Apple ran one commercial and expected everyone to appreciate their brand and buy their products. Marketers realize the need for hundreds and even millions of impressions to get their messages across.
As a leader in your work group, division or company, realize that your employees need to hear the same essential messages over and over again. When they hear them for the first time they do not know whether this is just a whim of the boss or if it is important.
When they hear the same message for the third time, they start to realize it isn’t going away. If the same message permeates its way into your corporate newsletter, town hall meetings, training sessions, measurement systems, performance goals and performance feedback then people realize you are serious.
So if your initiatives are not getting the traction you believe they should, then perhaps you will need to un-check that box and realize there is more work to be done in getting the buy-in and execution you need. Some boxes will never be checked off: innovation, communicating points of differentiation, showing employees appreciation and many others.
Reflection Questions
Have you thought something was “done” when it really wasn’t? How are you playing a role in people “getting it”?
Action Items

  • Decide what the essential must-achieve areas are for your team, division or company.
  • Communicate it in many ways, many times.
  • Integrate it into the systems your people care most about – recognition and rewards, compensation and promotion decisions.
  • When things start to drift off track – go back and reinforce it again.
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