How do you keep score? How does your team keep score? What does a win look like? Are these questions you immediately have an answer for, or do they make you stop and think? Do you have an answer at all? I believe this is one of the most critical factors in human engagement. I think it’s true at home, at work and even where we play.
The best leaders help people understand what winning looks like and how to get there. Wins come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few principles to consider as you help your team and yourself answer the important question:
What constitutes a win?
A win must be quantifiable. How will you measure your progress? How will you know if you win? Unclear victories can demotivate even the strongest individual and team. As a leader, you may need to create milestones that can be measured and achieved to boost the energy of your team. A goal defined as "10 new customers this month" is better than "we need more customers."
A win should require a stretch. Yes, there is such a thing as a “cheap win” – a victory that was achieved with little effort or thought. Those aren’t the type I’m advocating. Those victories generally don’t help people grow or feel long-term satisfaction. A win that requires people’s best efforts are inherently motivating.
A win needs to matter. Small visions stir no man’s soul, neither do victories that don’t matter. You probably shouldn’t consider it an achievement if you show up for work. What will really contribute to your growth and/or the growth of your organization? The answer is a candidate for a win. Example: Raise revenues by 10% at year-end to avoid layoff.
A win should build confidence. What will help you do this? Think about wins for individuals and the team. What is challenging but not insurmountable? What could serve as a stepping-stone to bigger achievements?
A win should be achievable. Have you ever tried to accomplish the impossible? These situations are not win-win – they are lose-lose. The organization and the individual both lose. If a win is achievable, it can motivate performance.
A win should ultimately serve the larger good. Most appropriate wins help the individual, but the best ones also help the team, the organization or beyond. People long to be part of something bigger than themselves. As leaders, when we can help connect the dots between the immediate task and the larger good, people love it!
Think about the next 30 days; 90 days; 12 months – what does a win look like for you? What does it look like for your team? Perhaps you’ll want to establish several. Don’t wait. The sooner you define them, the sooner you can pursue them. Enjoy the journey![GLS_Shield]