Do Your Team’s Goals Look Like The Hawaiian Shirt Your Aunty Bought You?

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In January 2015 the Football Federation of Australia brought me into the Australian Women’s football team, The Matildas.  Over the last 5 months I‘ve worked with their Head Coach Alen Stajcic and the top 25 female football players in Australia at the Australian Institute of Sport.  On June 8 2015, they begin their World Cup Campaign in Canada against the United States of America, having played them 24 times for 22 loses and two draws.

To bring about a change in an organisations culture you need to bring about a change in behaviours.  Behaviours are culture.  In mid January this year, Alen Stajcic set clear expectations for each member of The Matildas this year and my leadership responsibility is to drive those expectations into the players, individually and as a group.  It is the best prepared Matildas Team in 25 years of their World Cup history.

What is your organisational culture like?

Have you set clear expectations as the leader?

To lead effectively will require your ability as the leader to ensure you have clear expectations in relation to what you expect from the team you lead.  To give anything less than your best as a leader is to sacrifice the gift of leadership.  Leadership is a great responsibility.  If you are in a position of leadership, you’re in the minority.  It’s a gift.  You’ve got a great opportunity to make a real difference.  For you to lead effectively and to grow as a leader, it will only be possible when you have set clear expectations.

What do you expect from the leaders you have around you and do they know what you expect?  

Do you have a strategic planning process that defines the overall directions and objectives as a leader?  

Having a Strategic Planning Process means you have a direction; you have a clear set of objectives you want to achieve in the next 12 months. You need to have a Communication Strategy that provides clarity in relation to individual team member’s roles and how they fit into your Vision.  It’s critical that each member of your team knows how they fit into the Vision and the big picture so they can take ownership and responsibility for their roles as valued team members.

Do you have a process for goal setting?

Do you know how to set goals?

Do you have a process for evaluation?

What doesn’t get inspected doesn’t get respected. My mentor drove that into me.  That’s why one on one time with key leaders is so important.  When you spend time one on one with each person, not only are you adding value and making them feel heard and listened to, you are inspecting what they are doing on a performance level, which means they give you respect about that process.

Do you have an accountability process?

The One On One process  leads to accountability. Communicating clear expectations requires the leader to communicate the vision and communicate the strategy and communicate the tactics which are critical components to ensure the team you lead is pulling in the same direction, focused on the right goals and the right vision.

When I commenced my leadership role at South Sydney in 2014, it was imperative for me to understand the vision of Head Coach, Michael Maguire, and what his expectations were for his team to win the 2014 NRL Premiership.  There can be no accountability when confusion and doubt exists within an organisation.  Clear expectations drive accountability and create the necessary discipline and focus on the right behaviours to achieve the results.

After 43 years, South Sydney won the 2014 Premiership and the clear expectations that were set were a key strategy to achieve the vision. Expectations are behaviours.

What do you expect as the leader?

Do you understand what is expected of you as the follower?

What behaviors need to change in the organisation you lead to achieve the Vision?

It’s imperative for leaders to clearly communicate their expectations of the team’s performance and the expected outcomes to align each strategic area of the team with the overall Mission and Vision. Leading for growth requires the Leadership to define the organisational culture of teamwork that’s required to drive the Vision.  Team members have to understand why the team was created and the outcomes the organisation expects from that team.

Does the team you surround yourself with or the team you are part of drive the right behaviours to achieve the expected Vision?

Clear performance expectations, which are accomplished, deserve both public recognition and private compensation.  Being publicly recognised in front of teammates and peers and celebrating teams accomplishments strengthens the teams desire for success.  For example, when my team has achieved a goal, we often go out to celebrate over dinner or we hire a corporate box and have a night on the town. It’s extremely important to recognise achievements. You know yourself the pleasure of being recognised for a job well done in front of your peers and your leadership team, and, it makes you want to keep going, to keep succeeding.  Same applies for your team – they love it too.

Do you have clear performance expectations for yourself? Do you have clear performance expectations for your team? 

Do you publicly recognise effective team members?

Do you celebrate with your team when you achieve your goals? 

How strong are the unity and the loyalty in the team you lead?

Clear expectations must be set clearly and be comprehensively communicated with formality. It’s really important each team member has a clear and detailed understanding of the performance standards required of them and the strategies and tactics needed, which will give them a pathway to succeeding.  Without this clarity, increasing accountability and responsibility, when poor performance occurs, is more difficult and it will reduce successful performance.

When developing goals for individual team members, the performance expectations must take into consideration the needs of the organisation, the needs of the team but also the motivational, skill and temperamental aspects of each individual.   Otherwise, poorly developed goals de-motivate and frustrate. They must inspire, motivate and keep team members focused on the big picture. One size definitely does not fit all (when does it ever?) in the case of goal setting. You need to be very mindful of the above when doing so, or your team could look like you in that “one size fits all” Hawaiian shirt your aunty bought last summer. Not very impressive.

Are you expectations realistic?

Questions to be asked about individual team members that you lead:

What key strengths does this individual possess?

How can these strengths be utilised for the benefit of the team?

Are there any particular weaknesses that require progressive development?

So, can I encourage you to re-evaluate your communication to your team regarding your expectations?

Do they know what you and the organisation expect of them?  Do they REALLY know?  

Have you individualised the expectations and goals of each team member, ensuring the goal will motivate and encourage them to achieve the Vision?

Do you have a process for clearly communicating your expectations?

And finally, do you reward your team, publicly and privately?  It’s amazing what happens when you do this.

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