Month: December 2010

From Strategy to Winning

Despite a stagnate economy good things continue to unfold—for instance, Apple products and sales in 2010?

Working hard certainly plays a role, but don’t overlook “working smart,” too.

That’s where innovation occurs. And innovation comes from smart strategies matched up with quality execution. Good ideas come-and-go, but getting-things-done is where the magic is. And realistically, can you do it all alone? In most cases, you need a team.

So—in the spirit of success and building up a successful team—here are 9 lessons to apply to your innovative efforts:

  1. Share Examples that Illustrate Desired Outcomes
    Get out of the abstract conceptual descriptions. Define concrete examples of the desired outcomes.
  2. Understand and Clearly Articulate the “Why”
    Without finding your compelling “why,” others will not discover their own enduring motivation to push forward.
  3. Be Real about Your Limitations and Ignorance
    Identify those gaps. Read and learn. Share and learn. Test and learn. And always keep a sharp eye to find others with talents, skills and experience beyond your own.
  4. Attract Other Leaders to your Team
    You will need sounding boards to pick apart your strategies. Ask hard questions. Probe your assumptions. Ultimately, your biggest challenge will be execution. So who better to help work through those issue than other smart leaders. Find a way to get them slotted into your network, somehow, someway.
  5. Set Measurable Goals and Assign Responsibilities
    Make sure one person accepts responsibility for a specific task. Don’t confuse team efforts and accountability. Team members need to know individual roles, responsibilities, and ownership of quality. Don’t leave tracking progress and coping with dilemmas and choosing tradeoffs to a faceless team. Every important task should have a tangible or measurable result. That result needs an owner.
  6. Use Feedback to Assess Progress
    You can’t know everything in advance. Exceptions will occur. Project delays and derailments can occur silently. Stay close to the action. Ask questions. Don’t become disconnected from the execution.
  7. Sustain enthusiasm
    Recognizing accomplishments and achievements remind everyone of the progress. Sharing in success deepens the interpersonal aspects of the team. Pausing to celebrate rejuvenates the mojo that makes the team work.
  8. Share the Credit for Success
    Keep a long list of those deserving credit—everyone who contributed.
  9. Stay Flexible
    When confronted with obstacles and surprises that require a pivot, refer back to your “Intended Outcomes” and “The Why” it’s all important. Ask yourself questions like, “Are these assumptions still valid? Am I aiming in the right direction?