Collective Willpower to Succeed
Feeling like you have tangible goals and that these goals are relevant to the entire organization’s success engages individual leaders. It makes them feel they matter and are part of the big picture. “To improve individual accountability at your organization you must do all you can to create an ownership mentality throughout the organization” (Studer, 2007, p.198). We often talk about the need to own our work and take ownership in the wellbeing of our organization, but what does that mean? A leadership team is only as strong as their collective willpower to succeed. Leaders must be made to feel they own their work in order to become invested in their organization, only by doing so will they see this behavior reflected in the people they lead. If ownership is lacking, disengagement is also likely amongst your leaders. There are ways to bring them back to a productive state.
Defining outcomes and metrics at both the organization and leadership level creates high engagement, and therefore ownership. When your leaders can measurably see exactly where they fit into the bigger picture, they become motivated to be part of the movement and this inspires them to champion the goals. In addition, having the support of other leaders will bring confidence in their ability to perform and collaborate effectively. Supported leaders become actionable leaders.
There are several ways to ignite or re-ignite ownership and consequentially improve the engagement of a leadership team. Below are tactics used to turn unmotivated leaders into organizational goal champions.
3 Steps to Build Collective Willpower
Short Cycle Meetings
Having focused, short cycle conversations about goals will get your leaders talking about immediate needs. Ask your leaders reflective questions about strategy. The ability to reflect is evidence of whether they implement the discussed strategies. They likely see what needs to be done within your most recent results (i.e. data) but will take actionable steps if held accountable through the process of short cycle conversations.
Ask questions like:
- What is one thing we can accomplish between now and the next 30 days?
- Eliminate the things currently on the calendar that don’t reflect this goal and replace it with actions that directly impact your 30-day goal.
- After those first 30 days ask what can be accomplished in the next 30 days. Keep this momentum going.
Your workplace behavior is key to improvement. Reflecting on your current responsibilities and finding a sense of ownership will help motivate and inspire. Consider the actionable steps you are, or are not, taking to truly own your responsibilities. Then, list the ways you could improve your actions. These actions will likely come up during your short-cycle conversations. Use the Ownership Exercise as a guide to getting started. Encourage your leadership team to practice this exercise.
Have “huddles,” or weekly check-ins as a leadership team. These meetings should take about 10-15 minutes.
Each leader reports:
- Around the table: one win/progress achieved
- Next steps: what they will do next
- Barriers: discuss potential barriers to achieving this goal and ask for any help needed
These huddles will:
- Keep leader actions in the forefront of their minds.
- Allow leaders to hold themselves accountable for taking action.
- Allow leaders to hold each other accountable for taking action and making adjustments.