“I feel stuck. I know I could be a better leader, but I’m a bit foggy. I don’t know what exactly to prioritize,” my audience member, Mark, said, after my speech.
Pause for a moment. What kind of leadership do you need to create in your own life? Perhaps, at work or at home. Even if your title is not manager/vice-president/business owner, you lead somewhere in your life. And, you lead yourself. How is that going?
In my speech about the “RoiLeader,” I talk about focusing on the most important details. ROI refers to “Return on Investment.” Our best investments are in our own skills and into the people we’re talking to. I break down R.O.I as Relate, Optimize and Intuit.
Here, we’ll discuss Optimize.
As leaders, we’re called to guide team members to great purpose and productivity.
In this article, we’ll Lead like a P.R.O.:
P – Protect the Talent
R – Reward Momentum
O – Optimize for Excellence and Expansion
- Protect the talent
As a feature film director, I have needed to get the best performances from actors and crew people. I learned that two principles are valuable: Protect the Talent and Guard Momentum. (I’ll talk about momentum in the next section.)
On a feature film set, “the talent” refers to the male and female actors (this distinction is emphasized by The Screen Actors Guild)
Your team members are the Talent. In fact, you are the talent, too.
On the set (for example a sunny beach), I made sure that people got what they needed to do their jobs well. On the set we focus on getting people out of the sun, using umbrellas, providing water and meals.
What can you do to make sure your team members (and you, too!) have what you need to do well? Remember … Protect the Talent.
- Reward momentum
I directed my first short film when I was nine years old. My first cameraman was my father. I learned quickly that no one moves unless the leader provides direction. To get the material filmed on a particular afternoon, I had to Guard Momentum.
As a student filmmaker, I’d pick up that camera (when necessary) and say, “Okay. Everyone, we’re going here.” My pacing guided the pacing for the group.
How do you “reward momentum”? You praise people for guarding momentum. You tell people that you’re guarding your own momentum. You set up structures so team members guard each other’s momentum.
You invite team members to say something like “Are you on a roll? How about you send me a text message when you’re available?”
You provide actual rewards for people who move forward. Even taking a team member for a celebratory “You moved forward on XY Project” cup of coffee is “rewarding momentum.”
Make momentum a value that the team members uphold right next to Guard Quality.
(By the way “Guard Quality” relates to the next section: Optimize for Excellence and Expansion.)
- Optimize for Excellence and Expansion
Many of us realize to optimize something, we’ll need to make excellent choices.
Set Criteria for Excellence—that is, identify what is crucial so that your project works well for the customers/end users. Identify the Critical Elements for excellent performance. Additionally, identify what you can drop.
There are times when perfectionists get in trouble. A supervisor may comment about a perfectionist’s efforts: “That’s nice. But that’s not what we really need.”
To avoid such an error, use these questions:
- What must be in this project?
- What can we drop? (I refer to “dropables”)
- What do the stakeholders (customers/others) most want in this project?
- Who do customers/end users most need from this project?
- What is most important to our team/company/humankind* about this project?
* Some might ask, “Humankind?” And I reply: “Why not strive to make a contribution to the human enterprise?”
Here is another facet of striving for and achieving excellence. You need to provide evaluation for yourself and others.
I’ve introduced clients to “The Evaluation Box.”
You identify your Top Three Focus Areas (and place them in the “Evaluation Box”).
Andrea, one of my clients, uses these three Focus Areas: Health, Increase Income and Destiny-Work. Each week, she reviews her efforts. She assigns a color:
- Green – Good
- Yellow – Concerned
- Red – in Trouble; Fix This
Meanwhile, Sarah has three people who directly report to her. In a weekly meeting, she has team members identify their current status with their projects. They simply and clearly state the status of the projects with Green, Yellow or Red.
What are your Top Three Focus Areas? How will you evaluate your progress?
To lead well, we need to think on an expansive level.
Every week, when working with my own coach, I identify my weekly goals on Three Levels: Good, Excellent and Amazing!
- Good – I know these tasks are vital and I can complete them
- Excellent – These tasks require that I stretch
- Amazing! – These tasks require alliances and expansive thinking.
With Cynthia, a client, I helped her identify her own goals for a particular week:
- Good – work on revising my business’s website
- Excellent – make 19 marketing phone calls
- Amazing! – complete all revisions of my website after having 11 people give me feedback.
In summary, part of being a good leader (at work and in your own life) involves seeing things clearly.
P – Protect the Talent
R – Reward Momentum
O – Optimize for Excellence and Expansion
Spoken Word Strategist – Executive Coach
Speaker-Author, 44 books so far 🙂
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