I’ve done several speaking engagements over the past few months that all had a similar theme to them, which was how to finish the year strong and start next year even stronger. When I’ve prepped for these speaking engagements, I’ve found a common narrative running through my materials, and I wanted to share that with you today.
That narrative is all about what conversations leaders need to have with their employees and teams this time of year. No matter the title of the talk, I’ve found myself discussing questions that leaders need to ask their employees. I kept coming back to 3 questions that leaders need to MAKE SURE those they lead CAN answer at any time. During meetings, if you stop someone in the hallway, or in normal conversation.
Three Questions for Team
Those 3 questions are:
What is our company’s vision for the future?
What are the core values of the company?
What are your 20% goals?
If you want to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction – these are the three questions everyone on your team must be able to answer. So let me talk about each one of these and give a couple of examples.
The vision of the organization is where the company is headed – think of it as where the company will be in 5-10 years from now (or longer, depending on the age of your business). It differs from mission because a vision has not yet been fulfilled or achieved. The mission of a company is HOW you achieve a vision.
Core Values Up Next
The next question revolves around core values. These are usually words or short phrases that describe what characteristics are expected from those who work there. These core values are expected of the team, no matter who is watching (or not watching). I tell leaders to act the way they’d want their employees to act when it comes to core values, and I tell employees to act in a way that makes them and their leaders proud. Some examples of core values are humility, transparency, relationships before money, do what you promise, kindness, compassion, and so on.
Every company has at least 3 core values, usually it’s somewhere between 5-10. When asked, an employee should be able to name at least half of the core values a company expects its staff to embody
The 3rd question every employee should be able to answer is, “What are your 20% goals?” First, let me define 20% goals. Most of us are familiar with the 80/20 principle. Basically, 80% of our results come from 20% of the work we do. It’s shocking how accurate that is…lol. For quite a while, this 80/20 principle was only applied to leadership and above, but it actually should apply to everyone in your company – all employees and key staff.
When you help your employees set their goals, you want their goals to be focused on the 20% of the work that achieves 80% of the results that their specific role produces for the company.
Being a Leader of Leaders
You job now is to ask each team member those question and see what you get. You’ll know very quickly where to focus your attention based on their answers. Your goal is to, within 6 months or less, make sure everyone can answer the questions mentioned here.
If you do that, you’ll have a well-run organization where everyone knows what the overall focus is, what their individual focus should be on, and how they’re expected to behave at work. And if everyone at work is on the same page about those three items, you’ll find yourself in a much better (and happier) position as a leader.