Leadership - The Power of You
by Gail Kasper

Although 68% of Americans have identified that they would be happiest in the year ahead "making progress on their goals," only 9% are actively doing something to achieve them.

Are your employees actively taking steps toward their goals? A recent survey indicates "no." The survey found that American's aren't taking their futures very seriously. Specifically, only 9% of those surveyed have a game plan to accomplish their goals in the coming year. With 99% of respondents indicating that they believe they are capable of accomplishing more in their lives, it is our responsibility as leaders to make certain our teams are actively taking steps toward "their" personal and professional goals. Isn't this what leadership is "really" all about?

The survey which was completed by a random group of adults over 18 years of age, also asked respondents to identify the biggest issue that prevents them from achieving their goals. The top 3 reasons identified were as follows:

Procrastinating 33%
Lack of discipline 24%
No game plan 19%

Interestingly enough, 10% of individuals felt the biggest issue that prevents them from achieving their goals was "doing it alone." This statistic alone emphasizes the need to promote team efforts and build motivation.

Supporting these results, participants were also asked if they felt they needed to improve their lives in specific areas such as personal confidence, family relationships, involvement in clubs/organizations, developing supportive friendships, their physical appearance (excluding weight), weight, financial stability, health/working out, career, and education. 99% of respondents felt they needed to improve in more than one area of life while over 90% of respondents felt they needed to improve in 5 or more areas. The areas that required the greatest improvement were developing financial stability, followed by health/working out, and losing weight. With the focus of leadership on the individual as a whole, these statistics open the door for us to "take interest" and "build a well-rounded employee."

To summarize, the survey indicates that 99% of respondents feel they need to improve their lives, but only 9% are actively doing something about it.

We do want more and we all know we can do more with our lives, but 91% of us aren't doing anything about it. We get caught up in day-to-day life and fail to visualize our future. When running a business, this mentality is deadly and will cause a business to self-destruct. With our personal lives, it can produce the same result. For the growth of the department and the company, we must take an active role in developing our employees personally and professionally. What we don't realize is that this will also create a very positive environment.

Respondents were asked to identify which course of action would make them feel positive about themselves and their lives, and other than "spending time with family," the #1 response was "achieving excellence in an area of life. As a leader, you have the direct ability to impact your team in a positive way and inspire growth.

Here are seven simple steps to further develop your leadership skills and build a stronger team.

  1. Schedule a meeting with each employee to assess their vision. That's right, schedule a 30-minute meeting with each employee! When people decide that they "want" something whether it's a purchase or a vacation, people are tenacious about getting it. It's time for your employees to be tenacious about their lives? When you meet with them, ask them this question: where do you want to be next year? What about 5 years from now? And have them write down their response. It may be a paragraph or a list, but it must be written down.

  2. Identify the top 3 goals. It's easy to make a list, but it's not quite as easy to achieve everything on that list so have your employee circle the top 3 goals that would produce the greatest positive results in their life.

  3. Use a Daily Planning System. Gene Donohue once said that the difference between a goal and a dream is the written word. Each employee must have a daily planning system whether it's an electronic organizer, written daily planner or other method of choice and place those goals in the daily planning system. Writing them down will make them "important" and give seriousness to the tasks. It will bring those goals to life.

  4. Identify tasks, with dates and times to accomplish these tasks. Next to those goals, write down the specific tasks that must be accomplished to complete those goals. These specific tasks are also placed in the daily planning system. So if next week, your employee plans to go to the gym, they should identify the specific date and time that they will go. For each task, the employee must identify a specific date and time to do that task. This creates a concrete plan!

  5. Design a value system. Your employees should have a clear picture of not only "what they want," but "who" they are. A value system is who you are and how you choose to live your life. It's your standard operating procedure. If you are a caring, hard working, honest with yourself, loyal individual - these values will define the process for how you work everyday and how you will move forward with your goals. An individual who is "honest with themselves" will not pretend they are working toward a goal when they're not. They will admit that they have fallen off track and will get back on track. A value system is key and when each individual has a value system, it builds a stronger team.

  6. Celebrate every accomplishment. We are a negative society. We see what we haven't accomplished, rather than the steps that we have taken. Any effort or energy given to what hasn't been accomplished slows us down. Encourage your team to share "every" experience along the way. What may seem like a "small" step to them, you can turn into a "big" accomplishment. This will keep the team motivated and moving forward.

  7. Track their progress. When growing up, your employees had their parents to keep them on track, and today, at work, they have you. Lucky them!

With 10% of individuals indicating that their #1 reason for not achieving a goal is that they don't want to "do it alone" and over 30% indicating that they "procrastinate," these statistics are not to be ignored. Be the support system to keep your employees on track and hold them accountable. Ask them how things are going. 19% of individuals don't "have a game plan" and many times goals don't achieve goals because they don't know how to proceed. One brainstorming session with you can propel them to the next level of achievement.

Action creates results!

Gail Kasper is an internationally renowned motivational strategist. Multi-billion dollar companies, top CEOs, associations, Ivy League universities and professional sports teams have adopted Gail's ideas, leadership techniques and sales programs to increase performance and achievement. She is the author of the life strategy audio CD program Make a Decision to Win. Gail is the former Mrs. New Jersey America 2002 and has co-hosted the Emmy award-winning America's TV JobNetwork (airing on CBS and Fox). She currently hosts The Visitor's Channel. Coupling a business degree with psychology studies Gail is a nationally recognized certified trainer. For more information please visit www.gailkasper.com. To arrange an interview or appearance with Gail Kasper, please contact: Elizabeth White 530-274-3624 or elizabeth@latimergroup.com .

Many more articles in Creative Leadership in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2005 by Gail Kasper. All rights reserved.

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