Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Measurement of Success

Posted by Matthew Thomas

In their recent paper, “Wheel Forward or Spiral Downward,” Design Group International’s Mark L. Vincent and Stezala Consulting’s Kim Stezala discuss how measuring results (or success and failure) in an organization is one of the most difficult things to do – and how it drastically affects the results and outcomes we generate and receive. 

Nowhere is this more true than in many outreach initiatives developed by local governments, non-profits, churches and faith-based organizations. Often, the organization in question decides to do some sort of outreach – whether just for the common good, or to grow their organization’s reach / membership, or some combination of the two. However, organizations often do these things without a clear sense of what the expected results should be. Or, they expect such results as to make anything that happens in reality a sad shadow of the pictures painted in their minds.

At that point, a great re-measurement begins: usually, it becomes a matter of if whatever happened (or didn’t happen) was acceptable to the group, not a matter of measuring what actually happened. Unclear, vague measurements based on dreams and desires (not really based in experience or understanding) at the outset often then give way to results measured by “if we liked it, or if we are ok with it, or if we are resigned to it,” rather than a matchup of effort to outcome. In many ways, this is a denial of failure. Nevertheless, only when we can declare failure when it happens can we also find true success when it happens.

Read the whitepaper, Wheel Forward or Spiral Downward, by clicking the link below!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Relevance of Goals

Posted by Matthew Thomas

The relevance of the goals we set consistently shapes the results and outcomes we generate and receive.  How well do our shorter-term goals line up with our purpose? How well do our means measure up with our ends? If our purpose is, for instance, measured in terms of societal or personal impact, and our goals fixate on dollars and individuals on our mailing list, sometimes our goals could be really irrelevant.

Choose goals that make sense relative to your purpose – or else you will likely get results that don’t match up at all with your purpose.

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization develop healthy goals that match your purpose. Click the link below to contact us!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Initiative

Posted by Matthew Thomas

The way we take initiative in opportunity – both to take advantage of opportunities and to create opportunities – consistently shapes the results and outcomes we generate and receive. Taking advantage of opportunities involves recognizing opportunities and acting upon them; creating opportunities involves positioning ourselves to be available (or more readily available) when opportunities arise or working with others to create the space for new things to develop.

This almost always comes from an assertive stance, with a vision toward the future that is greater than the status quo of the present. While in some situations an aggressive stance is warranted, in many cases in business and other organizational relationships, it is seen as too strident. Passivity, of course, means that only the most obvious and accidental of opportunities become available to us.

The assertive stance creates perspective and margin to allow for something to come in to being that was not previously available or possible. This stance prepares for the “next thing” by making sure there is financial and relational space to do something new, and a skill or capacity that can move the organization and people in it to the next level.

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization develop healthy initiative for opportunity. Click the link below to contact us!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Personality

Posted by Matthew Thomas

 

Our personality preferences consistently shape the results and outcomes we generate and receive. How we habitually see the world and interact with it and the people in it will shape areas where we tend to have success and areas where we tend to struggle. This is why in any organization it is important for key leaders to be aware of their personality type and preferences for interaction and make sure those around them have some level of intentional personality diversity.

In the organizations in which I have been a part, I find myself to be in the funnel point between the strategic visionaries and the tactical practical types. If everyone were one or the other (or if there were none of us in the middle to make the connections), an organization would get bogged down.

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization develop balanced organizations. Click the link below to contact us!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Relationships

Posted by Matthew Thomas

Our relationships consistently shape the results and outcomes we generate and receive. Our ability to get others to do what we want directly affects the results we get. Of course, many times, and for many leaders, this involves compulsion, threats, manipulation, quid pro quo, bribery, blackmail, extortion and sometimes just plain old lying. Nevertheless, for leaders who want to operate with some level of integrity and leave a legacy without leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those to whom we relate, those options aren’t really on the table.

How we relate to others – and to whom we relate – gives shape to our organizational results. The relationships we value have greater power in our decisions than those we don’t value as highly.  We will find it easier to relate to certain groups of people and extremely difficult to relate to others.  But relationships are based in choice – how we will choose to interact with another person or group of people.

In organizational life, we must be very intentional about our relationships – in our organizations, we often relate to others we would not otherwise typically connect with. Moreover, to grow an organization, business or enterprise of any type, we must stretch to relate to others we would not otherwise spend time with. 

In organizational life we set aside our personal preferences for the people we relate to most easily and develop relationships with a wide variety of people. With whom do you relate in your organization?

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization develop healthy relationships – internally and externally. Click the link below to contact us!

 

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Obligations

Posted by Matthew Thomas

Our obligations drastically shape the results and outcomes we generate and receive. We may be obligated to certain stakeholders or a particular person or group that empowers or authorizes our work. Leaders and bosses often have obligations to their staff and subordinates. Nearly all of us have some kind of family obligations. Most of us have significant financial obligations. These obligations shape our capacity to work and innovate, and limit what options for opportunity we can select.

Our obligations do not merely end at our finances and family: we all have people to whom we are obligated even if we are not fully conscious of it – our tribe, to use current language. Our tribe can include our friends and family, neighbors, ethnic group, or nationality but also people who are no longer alive whose values and memory we sustain.

In order for us to achieve the results and outcomes we desire, our obligations need to be clear to us and serve to, as much as possible, move us toward our goals and aspirations. If our obligations are inconsistent with our goals, we may have to re-examine both our obligations and our goals.

We will never be free from obligations – they are part of our relational, social being. Nevertheless, they, too, can be put to good use to shape our outcomes if we consciously begin to choose which obligations to fulfill and which to challenge.

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization discover and work through the complexity of your obligations. Click the link below to contact us!

 

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Taboos

Posted by Matthew Thomas

Our taboos affect our results more than we often want to admit. “We don’t do that; we won’t do that;” even, “we can’t do that” all declare our no-go territory. Sometimes, this is because we, very sensibly, have boundaries to keep us on point and driven by purpose. At other times, however, we are practicing not-doing-something we saw done or experienced at another time and place.

I have often heard it said that our mind cannot make a picture of “not.” When we have a bad experience somewhere, or are mistreated (or even, at times, abused) by someone, and we say that we are “never going to do things like that,” we have great difficulty creating alternative positive behavior.

This is also often the hang-up many would-be innovators experience: in an effort to be new and different, innovators often throw out things from the previous edition, the traditional form, the last organization, or the established-tried-and-true that would work just fine in their new oeuvre.

Once the innovative leader can work through the never / always thinking, moving away from at least a measure of the either-or outlook, then they can often establish the right taboos while bringing new life to the work they are creating. There will always be things that we will not do, should not do, and cannot do: the question for most leaders is which things, when, and why not?

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization discover and work through taboos. Click the link below to contact us!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Values

Posted by Matthew Thomas

The values we hold directly affect the results and outcomes we generate and receive. These values aren’t just the items on our “core values” statement; these are the things we really find valuable. The things we value get higher priority, greater resources and deeper passion than things we do not hold as valuable.

I have often worked alongside and within organizations that go through a strategic mapping or planning process wherein they name their core values. Often, at one point or another, this involves a brainstorming session or survey instrument where everyone lists all of the things they value about the organization. Then, if the process ends there, the organization takes the brainstorming, removes or combines obvious overlapping words and ideas, and then compiles the list into their “core values.”

This creates three issues: first, one of the values that then needs to be added is that every opinion is accepted without challenge (for fear often of stepping on anyone’s toes); and second, it often focuses on what the people in the room value about the organization, not what the organization values; third, it makes no mention of that list of things that would be consistent with the list but are, for whatever reason, disregarded by the group making the list, or otherwise actively not valued.

Instead, another approach would be to ask the same people what the organization has valued over time that lines up with its purpose, and what it will need to value to meet its goals and achieve the results it seeks. People may still have trouble differentiating between their personal sense of value in the organization and what the organization itself values, but it will likely yield results that better reflect the organization than the individuals involved.

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization develop healthy values. Click the link below to contact us!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, strategic planning, Results, executive coaching

Getting Results in Organizational Leadership: Priorities

Posted by Matthew Thomas

The question of priorities affects the results and outcomes we generate and receive at a very basic level.  Comparing our priorities to others’ priorities often gives us clear insight into why we get different results than our competitors, colleagues, companions and comrades. 

Consistent priorities get consistent results. Things that always get done first usually get done. Things that are near the bottom of the priority list never get done. When there is a gap between our stated priorities and our practices, it may be best to admit that we actually have different priorities than we say we do. Once we do that, we may be able to find a way forward to make the actual priority changes we want to.

Priorities that vary and change with some regularity (even if unpredictably) may mean our priorities are tactical or short-term rather than strategic or visionary. It also may mean that our priorities are shaped by others’ expectations or driven by our own anxieties.

For priorities to be sustainable, we need to govern them with an overarching vision, without woodenly reducing them to the level of procedure. Sustainable priorities:

  • Are consistent in both our personal life and organizational role – complementary, not mutually exclusive
  • Are driven by purpose
  • Become our first and natural reaction (rather than what we have to sit and think through – even if we have to train and discipline ourselves to get there)
  • Are relevant to our goals and aims
  • Are consistent with our values

Design Group International offers strategic mapping and executive coaching services to help you and your organization set healthy priorities. Click the link below to contact us!

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Topics: Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, Organizational Leadership, Results, executive coaching, strategic planning