How do leaders accomplish more than others? And how do they achieve
great things with others? I believe a leader’s success is due to his or her IQ: implementation quotient. That is the difference between common knowledge and consistent application. Implementation isn’t just about having good ideas; it is about acting on them.
In a longitudinal study by Fortune magazine, 70% of CEO failure was because of his or her failure to deliver results. Many leaders start with grandiose visions but depart their positions with dreams unfulfilled.
If you desire to achieve more, you can easily increase your IQ. Here’s how to do it:
1) Dream big.
Don’t become a victim of puny dreams. Not only will those dreams fail to compel others to action, they will also fail to ignite and maintain your own passion.
Little dreams are almost as bad as no dreams at all. My friend Erwin McManus says it well: If you’re big enough for your dreams, your dreams aren’t big enough for you. Dreams should challenge us, not comfort us.
2) Plan small.
This step is critical. Once you have the dream, you need the details. That requires asking four key questions.
What compelling reasons do we have for doing this? The power to achieve any goal lies in the purpose behind it. Compelling reasons are the fuel of motivation.
What needs to be done? Identify the specific steps and components of the project that cumulatively are necessary for success?
Who will do what? Identify who is specifically who responsible for each piece of the project. This is essential to create accountability. Many projects have failed because everybody thought somebody else was doing what needed to be done.
When will things get done? The timeline for a project is another aspect of accountability. The goal is timely completion. By developing a timeline of completion, it is easy to track progress towards the goal.
3) Collaborate with others.
Encourage and appreciate the people on your team. If you’ve “planned small,” each team member knows what he or she is responsible for doing. Track individual progress and regress, and monitor the timeline.
Make people accountable for results rather than activity. People can look busy and accomplish little. Measure what you treasure –results.
4) Implement boldly.
Remember that people will be watching your performance. How you act will greatly influence their enthusiasm and commitment. The quality of one’s performance is the best indicator of his or her commitment and belief.
Whatever you choose to do, do it like there is nothing else you would rather be doing.
5) Keep striving.
Jean-Pierre Rampal, a renowned flautist, said “There are nights I go out and play a piece perfectly. Then the next night, I go out and play it better.”
As you and your team execute the plan, keep looking for ways to make it even better. Completion is the goal, but the higher goal is to achieve the best possible results.
And if things get off track, convert discouragement into determination by focusing on what has gone right, and what can be done to address what has gone wrong. Complaining identifies obstacles, but leadership overcomes them.
When you do these things, you will achieve the kind of results that most people only dream of attaining.
Adapted from You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Positive Difference by Mark Sanborn, Currency.