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Let your actions equal the who, what, when, where and how of your team’s execution

What do you want to achieve or avoid? The answer to these questions are objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this you can call strategy.  William E Rothschild

At an early age I learned about the 4 “w”s and “how”. Seems it has always been a part of my thought process. What, Where, When, Why, and How.

All goals, missions, vision, strategy statements and objectives wrap around “4W&H”. They are linked at the core of the thought and are intertwined at the execution. Micro and macro and unless there is cohesiveness, until you understand how it all comes together as one, you cannot communicate to your team what the end purpose is. As a result, your team won’t be “rowing in the same direction”.

The most basic disconnect can catch the best of teams off guard. Watch for the signs and work to help your team keep “rowing in the same direction”.

Are various parts of your team struggling to work together? Make sure their targets and metrics are not at cross purposes. When team members are set up with conflicting goals, instead of rowing in one direction, you may end up rowing in circles or worse, dead in the water.

Is your team hitting their metrics, yet losing the overall game? Your micro assessment is not adding up to your macro needs. Time to realign the layers.

Does it seem like your goal conversations are disconnected from the daily work being done? Time to realign the focus and priorities.

Let the actions speak as loud as the words. Remember the old saying, “Your actions are speaking so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

Be intentional

Accountability in the manufacturing world

In the news of late, I keep hearing the word “accountability” used over and over. What are you accountable for? What are you not accountable for?

In manufacturing we use the same word while changing the adjective: Personal accountability. Team accountability. Leadership accountability. How do you use the word “accountability”? What’s your framework? In order to baseline our conversation here I  looked it up in the dictionary and found this: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

But how do you accept responsibility for your own actions if you don’t have a solid understanding of what you or your team are measuring against? How can you be accountable for your actions if you don’t have a solid grasp of what it is you are working toward? Accountability can become a slippery slope into finger pointing if you aren’t careful.

We all know that accountability should start with the understanding of what you are measuring against. For a team to “be held accountable” there must be a base line, a tether to a solid goal, and/or a metric that adequately communicates reality.

As leaders, our job is to identify what we are holding ourselves and our teams accountable for /against. We must:

  • Comprehend the complete picture so that we can have the team work together in the right direction – setting them up for success.
  • Understand the metric including all those pesky details influencing the metric. Knowing what your team needs to do to improve the metric, or what they can do to “meld” the metric, will ensure you ask the right questions to hold them, and more importantly yourself, accountable.
  • Prioritize the metric so the team can make the correct trade-offs. (Note: I know it should go without saying but… Safety is never something that can be traded off. Never!)
  • Sustain the metric by working with the team to remove barriers. If you don’t invest in the metric, spend money to remove barriers, and/or apply resources to move faster, your team will know it is just another “metric to pencil whip”.

Accountability is multifaceted and is made up of responsibility, actions, and decisions. Knowing your responsibility guides your actions and influences your decisions. Know your goal. Know your obligation. Own what’s yours.

Be intentional