Posts

In sports, the players typically recognized are the stars; the players that have the best stats at the end of the year. Well, what about the rest of the team?

Growing up, I loved to watch the NBA. Michael Jordan was my favorite player and was the most popular player of his era. Yet, Jordan was not alone. The Bulls had a dynasty that rested on Jordan’s shoulders, but there were other team members that made consistent Championships a possibility. I believe the same is true in other organizations. For a team to win, it has to have more than just stars, they need ideal team players.

In this series of posts, I will lay out some keys to look for in an ideal team player.

  1. Invest.
  • In your team

A team player is someone who recognizes, believes in, and leverages the strength of the team and its members. They are not blinded by pride and believe the statement that we are better together is true.

Paraphrasing my favorite leader, Jesus, he tells to live a life of serving others, this includes those you work with. A true team player.

A true team player leverages their influence and strengths to help the team individually and collectively.  One of the key ways they do this is uniquely caring for and encourage their fellow team members.

They care for team members whenever others are going through a difficult time personally or professionally. They point out when other team members are doing a good job and encourage them to keep it up. As Andy Stanley is known for saying, “if your leadership is not about you, it will go way beyond you.”

  • In yourself

Not only should you invest in your team, you should invest in yourself to help you become the optimal team member.

This could include hiring a coach to help you stay sharp and hit your personal and professional goals. Or you may need to acquire or sharpen a skill by investing in training or in courses which is a great way to do that. Don’t rely on the organization for all of your development. Even beyond coaching and training, simply reading development books and listening to a podcast is a great way for you to improve yourself which will ultimately lead to you being a better team player.

After reading through this post, I want to encourage you to reflect on whether or not you are investing in your team and yourself. If not, pick something you can do in each area to get you on the road to becoming a great team player.

Goals, benchmarks, and quotas, all represent something we are trying to achieve. Most people are not accomplishing the goals they want to achieve, so what’s the deal?

According to an article on Inc.com, over ninety-percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions never accomplish them.  That is a ton of people, not feeling pumped about their results. In fact, a little over forty-percent of people have never succeeded in accomplishing their goals or achieving their resolution.

I have worked in the for-profit and nonprofit world and have seen people and companies set all kinds of goals. Improve client relationships, reach more people, give more money away, or take in more money. Individuals have set goals for spending more time with God, eating healthier, exercising more, making a budget, and so forth. Most of these goals will never be brought to fruition without some extra help.

I want to focus on a few that are the major culprits in many of us not accomplishing our desired goals.

1. Goals are not specific enough.

The more specific and concrete a goal is, the more it inspires us. The most popular goal people want to achieve is to lose weight. However, the goal to lose weight is not specific.

The goal needs to be so specific that it fits in the formula x to y by time or specific frequency. So the goal of losing twenty-five pounds by Christmas, now that has something to hang your hat on. Alternatively, instead of saying, “I need to work out,” the goal should be “I’ll workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from six to seven in the morning.”

2. Goals are not staying in the forefront of your mind.

Initially, we are pretty excited about our goals, and they stay at the forefront of our minds for a short period of time. However, after a while, our goal(s) get lost in the whirlwind of our lives unless we have a way of keeping them front and center.

3. Goals are not given the needed time and resources to be accomplished.

In the pursuit of improving, we can try to take on too many goals at once. When we do this, we end up not being able to give the time and attention necessary to each goal. One of the most eye-opening realities of having too many goals came from the book 4 Disciplines of Execution.

If a team focuses on two or even three goals beyond the demands of their whirlwind, they can often accomplish them. However, if they set four to ten goals, our experience has been that they will achieve only one or two. They’ll be going backward! If they go after eleven to twenty goals in addition to the whirlwind, they will lose all focus.

Simply stated, there is a diminishing return when we add too many goals.

While there are other reasons you may not reach your goals, these are the three big ones. Now, it is time to take your goals by the horns and fix the problem with these solutions:

1. Make sure your goals are specific.

Go back through the goals you set and make sure they tell you what you want to do and include by when or how often. Remember, going on a date night with my wife or spending time with my kids is not specific, but a date night with my wife every other Friday at seven in the evening is.

2. Enlist accountability.

The first step to accountability is to keep yourself accountable by reviewing your goals weekly. I encourage you to make this a part of your weekly review. For businesses, your most important goal or two show be very clear to your team members and reinforced consistently and constantly.

You can take it a step further by enlisting someone to ask you whether you are keeping in tune with your goals. One of my clients has his team ask one another over a dozen questions weekly, and they keep track on a spreadsheet of their progress as pictured below.

3. Choose fewer goals so that you can accomplish more.

I know this may seem backward, but if you try to accomplish too much, you may end up accomplishing none of them. So go through your goals and choose the most important two or three goals that you want to accomplish. You will go further faster if you have fewer goals.

Keep in mind that there are some goals that enable you to accomplish others. For instance, if you have a goal to workout and have quiet time early in the morning, but struggle getting up early enough, simply accomplishing the goal of waking up earlier will help you accomplish the other two.

4. Decide on trade-offs.

If you add something to your life, you have to take away something else.

It is not as easy as it seems to simply add a goal to your life without subtracting something else to make room. For instance, if you love to binge watch Netflix shows late into the night, but also have a desire to wake up early in the morning, something will have to give.

As one person has said, sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more. Yes, you may love binge-watching Netflix, but you love waking up earlier more so you can work out, write a book, read a book, or have quiet time.

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything. Decide what are the necessary trade-offs and make time for what you desire.

If you follow these four-step process to accomplish your goals, you will accomplish more of what you set out to do.

I would love to ways that have helped you accomplish your goals or what has proved challenging.

Six Steps to having a Personal Quarterly Review

Logic tells us that that harder and longer we work, the more we will get done. However, this is not always the case.

Just last week I was sitting in front of this same computer, evaluating how my life was going. Deep, right? That reflective time away was directly responsible for one of the most productive weeks I have had in a very long time. That time away is what some call a quarterly review or personal quarterly off-site.

The quarterly review is a time when you will get a higher overlook of your ninety days, and prayerfully decide your direction for the next ninety. I was introduced to this process from Building Champions and Michael Hyatt, and credit them for the information in this post.

One key to an effective quarterly review is to do it somewhere where you can reflect and think, and give yourself adequate time. So, to do this effectively you should take a half-day or full day off work and get away from everyone. I typically do my reviews at a library; other options include the park, coffee shop, bookstore, campground, or a hotel.

Here are six proven elements of an effective quarterly review.

1. Prayer. We begin with prayer because we want to make sure our will is aligned with His. You may ask Him for direction as you begin the review, or pray through some challenges you are going through. This sets the tone for the review.

2. Review and revamp the blueprint for your life plan. I wrote about creating a personal life blueprint here. A lot can change in three months, especially with the ‘where you are at’ and ‘what you need to do’ sections of your blueprint.

Change any area that needs updating and the corresponding goal. During big changes of life, you may have to revamp much of the blueprint.

3. Set new goals. This is a good time to set new objectives for yourself personally and professionally. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What are three things I want to accomplish in my personal life in the next 90 days?
  • What are three things I want to accomplish professionally in the next 90 days?
  • Is there something in my life that is taking a considerable amount of my time that I need to stop doing?
  • Is there something I need to start doing?

4. Modify your weekly desired rhythm. As life changes, so do your blueprint and goals. After revamping your plan and setting new goals, you must find a place in your schedule to accomplish them. You may have to cut less important things out of your schedule to make your new goals a reality. If you haven’t designed your weekly schedule yet, read this post.

5. Knock out a project. If you are able to take a full day off, work on a project that you don’t normally have time for. This will help you start the new quarter with renewed motivation, and help you feel better for having the day off.

6. End with prayer. I know we have already prayed, but I think it’s good to make sure you didn’t speed through an area and miss God’s heartbeat. During this prayer ask God if there is anything on the plan that He wants you to change. As you finish the quarterly review, thank Him for His grace and love.

Once the quarterly review is over, you need to let key people in your life know about the changes, namely those who they will affect. People such as your spouse, mentor, and assistant need to know the direction in which you are heading. Letting these people know what you are doing and why will make it easier, and help you avoid unnecessary trouble later.

My last quarterly review has already paid off. I am laser focused for the next quarter and have a renewed passion in all areas of life.

The quarterly review is one of the pieces we take some of our coaching clients through. If you are looking to invest further in your personal and professional life, this could be a great next step.

When are you going to do your personal quarterly review?

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Leadership development sometimes seems hard to wrap our heads around, but it doesn’t need to be. There are a few simple things you can do to grow as a leader.

I have been in leadership since the early 2000s but didn’t develop as much as I would have liked my first few years.

In my early thirties, I desperately desired change in the areas I lead. I came to realize that the problem wasn’t those around me, the market, culture, or other things I could have blamed it on. The problem was I had reached my leadership capacity, and everything around me was sinking.

In addition to seeking God, I started to do a few simple things that led to tremendous change.

1. Read. Leaders are readers. Most of us would love to sit down and pick the brain of Jim Collins, John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, or Seth Godin. The reality is you can, and for less than you think. For the price of a book, you have access to some of the best leaders in the world.

2. Listen to podcasts. Similar to books, you can learn from the best in the world, but for free. There are plenty of great leadership podcasts out there from some of the best thought leaders in the world.

You can get amazing information on almost any subject through this medium. There are podcasts on spiritual growth, leadership development, becoming a better parent, and so much more.

3. Hire a coach. If you want to go further faster, having a coach might be best for you. There is an investment to this, but the ROI is well worth the cost. I saw tremendous gains after I started using the services of Building Champions.

Andy Stanley once said, “You can be better than everyone else in your field without coaching. But you’ll never be as good as you can possibly be.”

Currently, I have a few one-on-one coaching spots open. We will work together to create a plan for your personal and professional life and hit your desired outcomes.

4. Join a mastermind or peer group. I meet up once a month with those in my industry. There is so much you can learn from those younger and older than you. Like coaching, there is an investment to join many mastermind groups.

The advantage of these is that you can be very frank with those in this group, with a less likely chance of any backlash. There is something special about getting around those who have gone through, or are going through, what you are experiencing.

5. Empower and develop other leaders. When you give away leadership, you not only grow in your leadership but also your influence. You won’t tap into your true capacity until you start to develop other leaders.

Take a moment and think about those around you who you can develop as a leader. If they are a direct report to you, you can empower them by delegating some of your tasks and responsibilities to them. Leading others is one level, but being a leader of leaders is something entirely different. If you want to improve your delegation skills, improve your ability to delegate, you can read my free ebook Discover the Process of Delegation.

I had reached my leadership lid, and without having a hunger to learn more, you may as well. The best way not to hit your leadership lid is to continue to learn because leaders are learners.

Action Step: Which one or two of the steps above do you need to take to expand your capacity? What are some other ways to grow as a leader?

Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock