Completing the SMART goals and turning them into actionable items set the basis for a robust action plan. Remembering to ACT (Action Changes Things) is an essential ingredient to the formula of a successful launch.
Taking action, such as setting SMART goals and actionable items, causes positive business habits that lead to eventual success. Yet, before we can define success, we must define the productive work that needs to be done to get to the end goal, and more importantly, who is taking responsibility for each task.
Responsibility Breeds Success
Although wearing many hats is common when first starting, most successful CEOs attribute their success to team members much smarter than them. Henry Ford built one of the first successful vehicle companies through a revolutionary idea: the assembly line. Each person is responsible for doing one task and doing it well. The manager of each department is responsible for their respective team's success. In this way, delegating to your team is the best way to build a successful business. Find out each member's strengths and weaknesses, then assign tasks accordingly. Finally, each person is to be accountable for their respective success metrics. When someone takes ownership of a project, their sense of success will be tied to the project's success.
Here are some tips on accomplishment through accountability
- Build your ask. Think carefully about the goal and project and what your ask is. Visualize the end goal and break it down into clear steps or objectives. Put yourself in the assignee's shoes when considering the reasonableness of the ask with the anticipated completion.
- Designate and delegate. Designate the assignee and delegate the team responsible for the completion and success of the task and its milestones. Of course, as the owner, the ultimate decision lies with you, but assigning the lion-share of specific tasks keeping in mind your team's strengths will empower them and reduce your workload and decision fatigue.
- Specify targets. Setting clear deadlines for the steps of the task is essential for many reasons. It will keep everyone accountable, know if a project is on track, and most importantly, it promotes feedback and documentation throughout the process, which strengthens the resolve to succeed.
- Define Success. The most crucial point in your ask is the end goal. Communicate to your team what the successful completion of the project will look like and what impact it will have on the organization's future. This will ensure your team does not take part in vanity metrics and stay on task.
- Set precise dates. Keeping in mind the actionable steps and the prepared targets, set clear due dates for each deliverable. Remember to give yourself time between each deliverable so that the team can review or provide feedback on the project's progress.
The old adage - what gets measured gets done - rings most true in business. Taking the intangible and measuring it has an enormous impact on the success of tasks, goals, projects, and your organization. It is never enough that a for-profit company's goal is to make revenue and reduce expenses. Having a diligent and disciplined approach to each task and documenting each step sets a significant precedent and template for the continuity of your business. As the organization grows and gets farther away from the top, documented processes will allow managers and associates to maintain or even improve the quality of work completed.
In summary, designating and delegating responsibility will give the team a sense of purpose and personal accomplishment. They will rise to the occasion and help you to achieve common goals. Remember, to create accountability measures, you must define a concise ask, a clear goal, specific targets, and due dates to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
We will discuss defining success and keeping track of progress in Part 4 - Tracking Results through Milestones and Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
7 Part Action Plan Building Series
Part 1 – SMART Goal Planning
Part 2 – Converting SMART Goals to Action Items
Part 3 – Accountability Measures through Assignments and Deadlines
Part 4 – Tracking Results through Milestones and KPIs
Part 5 – Going Beyond Planning to Execution – Action Changes Things (ACT)
Part 6 – Getting Your Team Onboard
Part 7 – Refine Your Action Plan – Monitor, Evaluate and Update the Plan