I was talking with someone the other day about how to lead people in situations that are relatively difficult and complex. This becomes especially important when a person is not very familiar with the company or organization and wants to get things off on the right foot in short order, so to speak.
My teachable point of view around this is that any leader can focus on 5 things and make success seem easy, no matter what the situation.
The Big Five are:
IMULL. This is the secret to leadership effectiveness in almost any situation. It is more difficult than I'm going to make it sound, because there are "layers" of complexity within each of these realms that must be viewed simultaneously. So, here's a little about each one and hopefully, you can use this with your employees or customers to help them achieve uncommon success.
Importance: What really matters?
When it is all said and done, what do you have to create? There are ways to think through importance, in fact some pretty sophisticated ways like RCAP which you can view here: http://www.leadu.com/RCAP. RCAP will help you differentiate what really matters in a number
of domains, perspectives and dimensions of time.
Urgency: What has to get done now?
I find a lot of people function not out of urgency, but out of crisis. There is a big difference when the crisis is caused because a leader is ineffective at planning based on a sense of urgency! Not only is it inefficient to turn the urgent into a crisis, but it costs much more in terms of resources to deal with things in crisis, rather than identify what is urgent. Of course you might realize that utilizing importance has real leverage. The Merrill's and Stephen Covey wrote "First Things First", where they discuss the critical nature of not falling victim to only the urgent, but the designing action around the important, yet urgent. Don't make the easy mistake of confusing the two, and don't let urgency go untended into crisis!
Motivation: Where's the energy?
In order to get things done, we have to utilize energy. Motivation is about free energy and the willingness to turn that free energy into productive results. You might have importance, and you might also be on top of what is urgent, but without motivation--energy to get things moving, it's not going to do you any good. I check for three things: importance, urgency and motivation when I talk with employees and customers. When I know the answer to those I get the fourth aspect of this teachable point of view and that is...
Leverage: Where is the most to be gained?
There is a law of economy in human nature and is usually stated as the least action to create the greatest results. We all subscribe to it, some more than others, but essentially it is a natural and universal law. However, very few people actually think about it so they know how it feels. Gaining Leverage is the absolute most important thing in leadership because we usually have scarce resources. To get the most out of those resources requires leverage. If we complete the circle, then we find the most economical way to utilize leverage is with the...
Low-hanging Fruit: Where can I get the most success
with the least amount of action?
Clearly, this is one of the keys we've learned from the marketing community. Yet, it applies to all leadership. Low-hanging fruit that is important, urgent, motivating, and levergeable is the fastest way I know to leadership success. Now I realize there are moral, ethical and legal boundaries here and they are assumed to override anything that might appear as easy but not suitable along these lines. Oh, the temptations will be great because once you start using this teachable point of view in context with the law of human economy, life and business reveals a whole other universe of possibility. Don't let the simplicity you now know through this model cause you to take short-cuts which are unsuitable.
There you have it. A teachable point of view you can use and pass on with your clients and customers. I hope it serves you as well as it has served my leadership over the years.
Until next time, here's wishing you leadership success.