I often remind my managers to stay aware of their involvement in a big somewhat counterintuitive killer of results and momentum – talk. Talk? Isn’t is necessary for great communication, collaborating, processing? Yet, I believe talk is the death of progress.
I’m not suggesting talk is without value & I’m not referring to all verbal communication. I’m referring to the talk that focuses on the past, ruminates, makes excuses, belabors who said what, and tapdances circularly around the elephant in the room. The talk that finds pleasure at the surface & thus fails to find root cause & create optimal paths forward. And yes, I’m referring to the talk about interesting and perhaps relevant issues that are unrelated to game changers that create something amazing. Picture executives using a strategy session to discuss rehabbing a training room or psycho-evaluating a key manager’s repetitive failure to execute.
All of these examples stem from a lack of confidence & knowledge, a fear of risk & change, a habit of indecision, a lack of burning desire, or a failure to recognize what’s required to make quantum shifts in our area of control.
The simple truth is that this talk is just a socially acceptable way to stall out, maintain the status quo, and not push your limits.
My “rule” is 5% or less time is spent on this type of talk. The rest follows a cycle of: VISION, PLAN, SCHEDULE, & ACT. VISION- Create the strategy. Where are we going & when will we get there? Who are we, and what value do we bring to the world? PLAN – How will we get there? Key milestones? Measurables? Game changing projects? SCHEDULE: What actions are needed to hit milestones, nail goals, and deliver game changing results? When will you do these things? **This step involves actually putting these key actions on your calendar. What isn’t scheduled is just a dream or wish. ACT: Execute the plan. Go-Time.
The cycle repeats itself…. Revisiting the vision to make sure it’s still relevant (I recommend doing this 2 – 3 times a year, and pre-scheduling these sessions). Revisiting the PLAN to make sure it is optimized to achieve the vision. (Revisit quarterly). Creating the schedule weekly so you know exactly what you will accomplish the following week. Add some emotional juice to the he schedule – get fired up about what you are going to accomplish and the impact it will have. Love the Outcomes. Success goes through the roof when we engage enthuasiastically & energetically with our work.