People do not hit targets or achieve business objectives that they don’t know about or cannot see. This is self-evident. It’s so obvious that one wonders why managers so often overlook this basic fact. For example, here’s a common situation.
Imagine you are the member of a team and your manager has convened a team meeting. The manager announces new objectives, perhaps with a slick presentation including pictures or graphs or bar charts, followed by handouts or emailed confirmations. At the time, this all feels very important and probably engenders a positive and animated response. The manager addresses questions and the team returns to getting on with their day-to-day jobs. Some team members file the handouts; some place them on top of mounting stacks of paper; some put them into filing trays. Your team may read your follow-up emails, but usually they give them only a quick scan. They then drag them into folders containing hundreds of other emails, all filed away for potential future reference and quickly forgotten. After a busy week or two, the meeting soon fades into the back of the memory. The big launch meeting a one-off event, punctuating a steady flow of familiar work. It’s easy for the importance to slide. The manger has probably devoted hours to the objective: discussions with the boss and other managers, and then preparing the team meeting. But for the team, life goes on as usual.
To ensure that every team member shares an equally clear vision, the manager needs to take action that this is much more definite. You need them to know who must achieve what, by when, to what standard and possibly at what cost. Hearing the objective once and receiving it in writing is just not enough to penetrate through the mass of other business to become a priority.
Consider you and your own team’s current objectives. Do you personally know exactly what you are trying to achieve? Have defined targets clearly? In your own mind, do you know what achieving the objective look like and feel like? Can you immediately list your current objectives without referring to notes? If you can reply to these questions with quick and accurate answers, you’re on your way to success. Now think about your team. Does each team member share your clarity of vision? If you asked any one of them to list the current objectives, in descending order of importance, could they do so? And would their list be the same as yours?