Mustang Leadership: Establishing Clear Focus for Your Team (Part 4)

Mustang Leadership: Establishing Clear Focus for Your Team (Part 4)

If everything is a priority, then nothing is. 

Welcome back to “Mustang Leadership,” a blog series where you will gain valuable insights and practical advice on leadership.

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. — Peter Drucker

Have you ever witnessed that work colleague who is always stressed out because they “feel” as if they have too much on their plate? 

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What about the ones who aren’t worried and seem to be focused on things that don’t matter? 

In my experience, both situations are ever so common. The underlying cause is that neither individual understands what matters

As leaders — your ability to prioritize what matters is the defining factor between success and stagnation. 

In Part 3 of this series, we learned about the importance of listening to your people but the lesson today is to help your team achieve clarity, focus, and effective time management. 

In this blog post, I’ll provide you with actionable tips and tricks that can help you build an autonomous team that chases the organization’s vision. 


1. Clarity of Vision

Whether you have been at your organization for one week or five years, understanding where your team is going is critical. 

Starting with your company vision or mission statements isn’t a bad start but the reality is that most people don’t read them, don’t care, or forget them. 

To gain a true in-depth understanding of your organization and its strategic goals you have to start by asking questions.

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Using Nike as an example, their vision is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. Their internal definition of an athlete is anyone with a body. 

Let’s say “Michael” is the newest mid-level manager at a regional Nike office. Here are some questions he could ask to better guide/direct his team toward that vision. 

  1. How does our vision of inspiring and innovating every athlete align with the day-to-day work we are doing? 
  2. How are we communicating our commitment to every athlete effectively within our team and our customers? 
  3. What obstacles or challenges do we face in carrying out this vision? 

Asking questions across several layers and even externally outside of the company can help define your understanding of the vision. 

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Once you understand the vision in your terms you will now be able to articulate the vision effectively in a manner. 

Actionable Tip: Regularly communicate the organizational vision to your team and tie daily tasks to the overarching goals. 


Why? Alignment cultivates a sense of purpose that drives team unity and over time changes how everyone internally prioritizes their work. 

2. Eliminate Distractions 

Now that you have a crystal ball view of where your team is heading the next step is to identify what will slow you down. 

Continuing the Nike example, some of the distractions that can prevent leaders from delivering inspiration and innovation to their customers are: 

  1. Accessibility and Affordability (Quality typically =’s $$$)
  2. Cultural Barriers (Tailoring products to different cultures)
  3. Supply Chain Shortages (Labor practices, ethical sourcing, etc.)
  4. Social and Political Issues (Brand image and reputation via athlete endorsements)

The examples above are more organizational-level distractions but at the lower levels, it can simply be working on a product that doesn’t align with the vision. 

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Actionable Tip: Identify distractions and prioritize items aligned to the vision

3. Delegate & Empower!

Okay here comes the fun part. At this point, you understand the organization’s vision intimately and are working aggressively to eliminate distractions. 

Now — it simply is a matter of delegating and empowering your team to prioritize their tasks.

Pro-Tip: Don’t prioritize your team's tasks.  

You see, I’m a firm believer that once you delegate or provide your intent/expectations, you are inherently empowering them. 

By prioritizing their tasks for them, you are eroding that empowerment and creating a dependency on you vs. allowing them to make decisions. 

Granted, there are always exceptions but being mindful and proceeding with caution is vital. 

So, to Peter Drucker’s point, to be effective you have to do the right things. To do the right things, you need to empower your team members to take ownership of their work. 

It won’t be a quick process but with patience and determination, you will have yourself an autonomous culture that internally processes based on the vision cast. Allowing you to focus on removing barriers along the way. 

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Actionable Tip: Delegate and empower your team to accomplish their assigned scope of responsibilities. 


Conclusion:

By focusing on what truly matters, you create an environment where your people can thrive toward success. Clarity of focus is often overlooked in a world that sometimes unknowingly values quantity vs. quality of impact. 

However, the below actionable tips will help you shape your team to make longer-lasting impacts. 

Summary of Actionable Tips: 

  1. Communicate the vision: Regularly communicate the organizational vision to your team and tie daily tasks to the overarching goals.
  2. Cut Distractions: Identify distractions and prioritize items aligned to the vision
  3. Build an autonomous culture: Delegate and empower your team to accomplish their assigned scope of responsibilities.

 

 

 

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