Saturday, April 22, 2017

Strategy Matters: Why Working Hard Should Not Be Confused With Delivering Results

Far too often, leaders get caught up in the day to day tasks of leadership. We become almost unconscious about our work, sticking to routine and compliance out of habit, yet losing any intentionality or deliberateness in our work. When we are called on not being intentional or lacking strategy, we tend to respond with this classic statement- "But I am working so hard!" That's why leaders have a responsibility to prioritize their work, to design a strategy for delivering the which they are held accountable for, and implementing a structure to support the work in a way that is centered on delivering results. If we aren't careful, we can work ourselves "to the bone", but never deliver the results we are tasked with producing. There are ways, however, the leaders can avoid this trap that so many fall into so often.

Be Purposeful

Leaders must be purposeful in how they organize, spend, and use their time. In other words, planning is essential. When leaders jump to doing without thinking about what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, what the goals or outcomes are for the work, and how they will get it done, they put themselves in a position of expending effort with no focus on outcomes. Leadership isn't about how hard you try or work. It's about doing the right work at the right time and delivering the right results. Sounds simple? Think again.

Do The Right Work
How do you determine your work priorities? What lens do you use to filter what's immediate and what can wait? What do you do to set goals for the work you complete? How do you determine that what you are working on is in fact the right work-what you should be working on? Do you revisit your assigned deliverables or professional goals routinely? Do you check for alignment between what you are working on and your deliverables? If leaders aren't careful about ensuring they are working on the right work, they can easily spend time working on something that has the possibility of being good work, but not the work you should have been doing.


At The Right Time
How intentional are you about how you organize your work time? Do you block out time on your calendar to ensure you are doing those things that are core activities essential to you accomplishing your goals or delivering outcomes? For a leader, this might mean blocking time off on your calendar to provide written, specific, and robust feedback to subordinates. For example, for a superintendent, it might mean blocking time off on your calendar to plan for your conversation, questions, and look fors when you visit a school and speak with principals. Intention matters. If we aren't deliberate about how we spend our time, it can become the one commodity that keeps us from delivering the results we are tasked with, not because we don't have it, but because we don't use it effectively.

Deliver The Right Results
How do you quantify your effectiveness? What data or evidence are you using to determine if you are delivering the right results? How often do you revisit your professional growth goals and evaluation targets? Do you have them visually posted in your office or routine workspace so that you and your team can see them and ensure your level of awareness is where it should be? Do you revisit them routinely in staff meetings, in conversations with members of your organization, etc.? Are you transparent about your likelihood of success to deliver the result or any obstacles or barriers you are encountering the might compromise your ability to deliver the results your tasked with on time and at a quality level?


I love questions so much more than I love answers. I can only hope y'all feel the same. Above all, I hope you have something to think about to help you deliver the results you need and want to deliver!

Until next time-be you, be true, and be a hope builder!

-Latoya
@latoyadixon5

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