The One Thing Leaders Must Do to Get Results
You probably know the pain.
Investing countless hours in redundant meetings only to find out the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing the entire time.
Getting the runaround between departments trying to track down simple information.
Struggling to get leaders on the same page when communication snafus blow up what should have been a quick project.
The unintended results? Wasted time, project delays, budget overruns, and competing expectations. The list could go on and on.
How many times have you thought, It really shouldn’t be this hard to get things done?
When you do, know that you have identified a point of disintegration.
You’re not crazy. It truly isn’t supposed to be this way.
Don’t bury those thoughts. Heed the signal that your team isn’t properly aligned somewhere.
A leader with a disintegrated team is like the emperor with no clothes. Everyone knows about the problem except the leader. If team members believe stress, struggle, and production pain are just “how it’s supposed to be,” they’ll continue to suffer and unintentionally underperform—until disaster strikes.
Thankfully, you can avoid million-dollar mistakes before you lose any more time, sleep, or your most precious resource—people.
3 Levels to Release Remarkable Results
While disintegration is not sustainable, integration changes everything. I’m not talking about perfection, but rather the alignment, understanding, and adaptability of the group for the mission as it unfolds in real time in the real world.
So, what kinds of things need to be integrated? Here are a few examples:
- Culture and values into hiring, on-boarding, and daily activities
- Management modeling with daily habits
- Strategy and strategic approach with marketplace wants, needs, and reality
- Product and service offerings with customer wants or needs
- Strategy with organizational capabilities and capacity
- Strategy and operations with systems and processes at scale
- People and processes
- Change appetite with change metabolism
Complete integration requires attention at three levels:
- You. The first person you need to integrate is yourself. If you are scattered regarding a vision for your team or dysfunctional when it comes to your own ability to get things done, you can’t expect everyone else to have clarity.
[call out] Leaders set the tone and pace for the team.
So, ask yourself: How am I integrating with coworkers, team members, customers, mentors, other influencers? Where do I need to step up my game?
2. Your team (internal customers). Once you’ve addressed your own integration challenges, consider the integration of your own team with others in the organization. Integrated teams are drawn together holistically on a shared mission. Ask:
- Do I know the critical people I need to integrate with?
- Do I intentionally reach out to peers?
- Do I know what their personality style is and how best to integrate with that style and communicate in their language?
- Can I trust them to have the know-how and flexibility to either get the job done or to communicate their problems?
- Do they trust me?
3. Your external customers. How integrated are you with your external customers? Customer integration means you know your target audience well. You are on the same page with them and understand their problems, pain points, needs and wants. Ask:
- How accurately am I working to solve real customer problems with my product or service before they even know there is a problem?
- How easy am I to do business with?
- How seamless would customers say our interactions are?
- Do customers come back to us?
- Do they tell others about us?
When you intentionally integrate fully with yourself, your team, and your customers, everything starts to run more efficiently. Zombies disappear and work gets done.
Integration Begins with YOU
You don’t have to be a military leader or the coach of an underdog sports team. When any team is integrated and functioning properly, the results are truly inspiring. However, you are responsible for equipping your team to run at an integrated, day-to-day level.
At its core, communication begins with you. Are you talking with your team or at your team? Is communication one way or actual? Integration runs on dialogue.
The most important thing to realize is that integrated teamwork begins and ends with leadership.
Model integration for your team. Make it a priority. And you’ll enjoy plenty of first-place—even come-from-behind—finishes of your own.