A Simple Leadership Strategy for the New Year
I used to be a manager for a grocery store. At times, it was very difficult to get my team motivated when they didn’t make much money and didn't have much respect for their positions. I can upon a very simple yet amazingly effective strategy which helped me to drive success in my team; Dream, Mission, Goals & Purpose.
I would start many days by telling my team a story. This was the same story I told over and over again. I painted a picture of a magical grocery store where the food was perfect, everything was always 100% in-stock and fresh, the team was always extremely helpful and our guests felt like they were coming home. It was intentionally corny and unrealistic.
I brought up the dream constantly. The dream is not serious and it is meant to make people laugh, but it really help to set the direction for where you want the team to go.
From the dream comes the mission. The mission is the realistic view for what is achievable given the right resources and performance from the team. The mission is basically the same story, but realistic and achievable. The mission should be directly aligned with the goals of the organization.
Our mission was to be always focused on fresh food, ensuring the highest level of in-stocks possible, and to be a friendly, helpful staff. Again, the mission is a simple, achievable translation of the dream.
The goals define the mission’s success metrics. How do we measure fresh food? What is the percentage goal of items in-stock? Is it 98% or 99% - having 99 out of 100 items available to our guests at all times? How do we measure how friendly our staff is? Goals are where many leaders start and all they talk about, but goals without a framework rarely produces the desired result. All that a goal communicates is the company’s definition of success. A goal by itself doesn’t communicate why the goals is there and why the team .
The Dream, Mission & Goals framework gets your team oriented but doesn’t provide much to drive them.
Purpose pulls it all together.
I would constantly ask my team, “Why does what you do matter?”
If the team member couldn’t answer, I would answer it for them; “The food we sell is eaten by our family, friends and neighbors. Their health and safety is directly impacted by what we do here. You are responsible for the health and safety of your family, friends and neighbors.”
Everyone’s contribution to society is important, but it isn’t always obvious. Sometimes a team member needs you to help them see it.
Remember, this is not a one-time exercise. This is daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly practice. Tell your team the dream, the mission, and the goals that will lead them there. Remind them why they matter and then see how far you go!