"It is the translation of the grand strategy down into what people do every day, and be caring about what they do that is the single biggest challenge that faces every company." And I suggest every leader. It is certainly one of the biggest challenges that I face on an ongoing basis. I find this quote from a CEO who took part in the Covey 4 Disciplines course stimulates me often to assess how I am going as a leader. Frequently accepted wisdom would say just set the big goal, go for it, let the people do the work. Often however this doesn't cut it.
Last week while discussing a project it became apparent that we had not yet thought through a key part of the new project. There was an inherent risk that we get to project completion and then find we had missed some key thinking for the process. It is not the first time, nor the first project that this has happened with. Being more than a little deflated that such a critical component had been looked over, I head into this week with a hankering to nail off my part in leading and delivering great projects, and this brings me back to the quote.
It has three parts, "grand strategy", you need to have one prior to doing anything else; "translation of the strategy into what people do each day", this is about breaking our goals down to a level that people understand exactly what to do; "caring about what they do", this means really caring and caring can only really be shown by spending time with them. Three parts, and as I critically review myself, I am doing decidedly averagely at all three! I have therefore planned a focus day to clear the head and determine again what is wildly important.
I am encouraged that 'translation' and 'caring' are the single biggest issue facing every company and leader. I am not the only person to struggle with this dimension of leadership. We have all worked for leaders, even stunning leaders that fail to continually set clear goals, help you break them down and care about how you are going as precisely as they should.
To conclude, a friend txt me a quote from Churchill in the weekend. "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm" – Hitting failure after failure enthusiastically – hmm.