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31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader


Day #8: Plans for Action

Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.– Peter Drucker

Team Planning

                    Planing as a Team

This is where the “rubber hits the road,” as the saying goes. Once you complete your strategic plan and define your long-term objectives and short-term goals, what you have is simply a piece of paper with words. It’s a plan, for sure, but nothing happens without leadership.

Your vision is only as good as its implementation. Your implementation depends on you and the team you lead. Certainly, the leader can’t do it all, so it’s up to the leader to develop the skill to lead the team. Moving ideas into statements of accomplishments, and moving from the starting point to the desired outcomes, is where effective leaders really stand out from everybody else.

Here’s what I know…when 100 people have an idea, only 3 of them do something about it. Out of those 3, about 10% will succeed. “Why?” you ask. My response is that most visionaries don’t reach out to get mentoring or coaching from an accomplished expert to ensure their success. Just because a visionary has an idea, even if it’s a great idea, there’s a gap between concept and performance. I call that leadership. It’s not something you read about in a book and then master on your own. It’s a well-rehearsed skill built over time with support from a mentor and/or coach.

I insert this sermon about leadership at this point because we are at a critical point in the process, in which there’s a 90% failure rate…right here…moving from concept to performance. In Day #12, the Personal Growth Plan, I’ll share ideas for building your skills for success and define the value of a mentor or coach. We can’t see our blind spots, so we need a skilled advisor to help identify and deal with those.

Action Plans are the key to manifesting ideas into results. There are three critical points to an action plan:

  • Specific Action – to do something…start with “To”
  • Champion – who will do it, or see that it’s done…a specific person
  • Action Date – start date, next step date, completion date…accountability begins here. There might be several dates in a process.

The skilled leader defines the outcomes clearly (you’ve done this in creating goals) and then works with the team to identify the key steps to achieve the outcomes. In between the short-term goal of 1-year or less, and the action plan, are 30-day milestones. Break the annual goal into 30-day steps, and then define what will be done weekly to accomplish those milestones.

Too much work? The answer varies with the question: How successful do you want to be and how soon do you want success?

It’s up to you. Effective leaders work with a plan, so team members know what to do and how to be engaged.

Next: Day #9 – The Performance Secret – DVDs

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