How would you rate yourself as being good at delivering on-time results within your organization?
At my company, we ask clients if they are delivering results on-time, are the results completed without sacrificing other factors like quality, or alienating their peers or co-workers?
If the initiative you are responsible for is late or lacks the necessary quality, your key stakeholders are directly impacted. It’s not just you that has to account for these issues, so too does the entire system.
Producing results on-time can be challenging given that each person within an organization is a link to a bigger chain of events.
But keep in mind — no leader works in a vacuum and no leader achieves results by themselves.
From our coaching and organizational experience spanning over 20 years in Fortune 500 organizations and global consulting firms, we have identified the top 5 causes that prevent leaders from delivering results on-time — based on evaluating 360 Performance Appraisals Surveys conducted on over 650 middle to senior level leaders.
Here’s a quick checklist to see how you are doing as it relates to getting things done.
How Does This Apply to You?
- You meet targets/goals most of the time
- Sometimes you miss important deadlines
- You are as timely in meeting targets/goals as everyone else in your work unit
- More often than not, you are among the bottom half to finish agreed upon assignments
- Your leadership brand is defined as achieving all goals on time
- When target dates draw near your intensity for results increases
So how did you do?
If you’re not very effective in getting things done on-time, all the time, you’re not alone.
Many leaders are less than effective on this very issue. The good news is that we have found that significant improvement can be made.
Two simple yet powerful techniques can help leaders get better results on time.
There are many common issues as to why leaders do not effectively deliver results on time.
Before we describe two ways to fix these, let’s first outline some of the barriers or common issues that inhibit effectiveness in delivering results on time.
Top 5 Issues That Stop Leaders From Delivering Results On Time:
- A Lack of Organizational Skills. A failure to plan, outline, and delegate.
- Perfectionists at Work and in Life: Failure to understand that sometimes “good is good enough.”
- Failure to Involve Others: Forgetting that effective leadership is never done alone
- A Slow Work Pace: Always remember--“Time” is a powerful competitive advantage
- Failure to Lay Out the Process: Knowing where you’re headed is key to achieving your goals
Two Powerful Techniques for Delivering Results On-Time
From our coaching work and in our analysis, the two biggest contributing techniques used by leaders who are perceived to be highly effective at delivering results on time are:
No. 1. The Ability to Lay Out the Process
No. 2. Getting Others Involved on the Front End
At first glance laying out the process this appears simple, but this step is most often overlooked. That’s because a leader simply will not take the time to “slow down” and implement the required planning.
Yes, taking the time to lay out the work from A to Z takes effort and time, yet by slowing down it actually makes you faster!
Step 1. How Can “Being Slow Make You Fast?”
Simple. Whey you lay out the process ahead of time, it significantly reduces your chances of having to keep revisiting issues over and over again or backtracking. Hence, slow becomes fast!
With the advent of advanced technology, many effective leaders utilize project-planning software that is relatively inexpensive and can guide you through an organized process.
Examples of well-reviewed project-planning software include products such as At Task and EasyProjects.net
In addition, the output of the software (whether plain word documents or more complex mind maps) allows you to easy communicate your plans with your key stakeholders.
Step 2: Getting Others Involved on the Front-End
This “involvement of others” links directly to the second critical step in the effective delivery of results on-time.
Another way of thinking about this is through a term that Richard Shell and Mario Moussa call “Woo.”
That is, the ability to win people over to a leader’s ideas without coercion, using relationship-based, emotionally intelligent persuasion.
Clearly, effective leaders have the ability to put themselves into the other person’s shoes but it is more than just the ability to be “empathetic.”
It is the ability of knowing your own style of communication, behavior & leadership beliefs and knowing the communication style, behaviors & leadership beliefs of those you are influencing.
The key learning point here is this: If you only influence others through your formal authority (also called “positional authority”) or through the use of data/numbers/logic you will over time drive top performers away from wanting to assist you.
Because high performance talent does not want to be told.
They need to be engaged and be in partnership.
In short, you will not have captured their “hearts and minds” unless you get buy-in on a deeper more emotional level.
Effective leaders who deliver results on-time do all of the following:
- They are among the first to deliver on their objectives
- They frequently exceed many of their target dates
- The exhibit a faster work pace than most
- They never suffer quality, cost, or morale issues
Keep in mind, there are only a few principles, or truths, surrounding effective leadership and one of these is that effective leaders know that they can’t do it alone.
Effective leaders who are known for having a successful leadership brand, recognize that delivering results on-time in a consistent manner is a team sport and they need to actively engage others.
Robert Denker, PhD. is the Managing Principal of rd&partners.com, Chicago, Illinois.