When you and your team are committed to your mission daily through the right activities and you keep your vision in view, “walking the talk” should be a piece of cake, right? It’s really not that easy. Last week, we discussed five characteristics I believe a company must exhibit to follow through on what it says it is going to do. Today, I would like to add a few more ways you can ensure you and your company are “walking the talk.”
1. Make high expectations a way of life.
Yes, set the bar high and expect everyone to get over it, including you. While your standards and goals should be achievable, they should also stretch people. If you hold people accountable to and for their goals, you in essence are creating an environment of high expectations. BEWARE however; if you accept less than what you stated you would, that will become your real standard.
2. Leave room for improvement, and focus on closing the gap.
Challenge your team to set its own improvement goals. Suggest they start with small improvements first to create an environment of constant celebration. Make sure that you are not only assisting them in closing the gaps but also recognizing them when they do so.
3. Commit to developing your team, while encouraging self-development as well.
A healthy mix of the two can produce incredible results through the right activities. Schedule the time and resources necessary to ensure training around knowledge and job skills is being completed. Seek out and consider joining industry related associations and groups. Be willing to allow some of your key employees to join as well.
4. Encourage and support taking chances.
Make sure you promote behaviors that encourage people to stick their neck out. Just make sure you define the limits and boundaries for realistic risk-taking but also encourage those who sometimes tend to discourage any form of risk-taking.
5. Define responsibilities for not only others, but yourself as well.
Too often, we assume people know and understand what they are responsible for. Take the time to clearly define responsibilities, then test for understanding. It is a good rule to make sure you are meeting all of your responsibilities before you start holding others accountable for meeting theirs.
6. Inspect what you expect.
Once you’ve set, defined, and delegated goals and responsibilities, it is imperative that you have systems and processes that monitor, follow-up, and grade progress, or lack of. If you supervise and manage people, I strongly suggest you meet with them at least quarterly to evaluate their performance and communicate your opinion of the results.
In my experience as a leader and coach, I have found that leaders who commit to the activities above not only achieve great results, but also develop great employees and leaders as well. That’s leadership done right! If you’re successful in creating an environment that is progress-driven and if you inspect it continuously, your chances of successfully “walking the talk” improves dramatically.
Time to walk!