In order to succeed in the business world, leaders must align their efforts and those of their team to incorporate their corporate values and ensure that all that they do is ultimately in service of their North Star. Goals and progress can be measured using North Star metrics and meaningful progress results in even greater engagement and success.

It all requires a seriousness of thought and measure of belief (there is that positivity quotient again), that your future can be an even better version of your past and that you have some measure of control on what it will look like. In other words, there are no accidents when it comes to your desired future performance state. It is purposeful, well defined, and actionable. Ultimately, it goes back to purpose and intentionality. It is not doing something just to do it, but doing something on purpose with the end game in mind.

Through our work and research, we have identified 11 main levers that together will shift the organization toward positivity and drive outperformance. We work with leaders to identify the best ways to understand the power of these levers to use them to make an impact inside their unique organizations. In this three-part series, we will walk you through all 11 levers in the coming weeks.

These levers are powerful and produce results. We want leaders to change their mindset and take a critical look at not only the weak points in their organization but also the average ones. These are the areas that are “good enough” and check the boxes of requirements. We label these areas as “COMPLIANT” because, in theory, an organization is simply doing what is required. But compliance can be a short jump to complacent. We suggest the opposite, because if “good is the enemy of great” and if you want a lever to bring about enduring and positive change, you have to shift it from being simply compliant with efforts that look or seem like the effort is there, to a state of COMMITTED, where your very being is invested in both the endeavor and the expectation of lasting impact. To the rest of the world, compliant might look like you are accomplishing something, but we identify it for what it is—checking boxes and underperforming. Whereas, with commitment, we appropriately recognize it for creating true and enduring value.

Below are the first three levers that drive impact. Each lever includes a description of what it looks like when you are only in compliance with them. The key is to understand the impact you can and want to achieve. Are you being compliant or being committed?

Lever 1: Organizational Audit

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant companies are conducting annual surveys to assess organizational awareness, understanding, and engagement. However, more and more, leaders believe that conducting a survey is enough—rarely sharing the results back to their employees in a meaningful way. Employees invest the time but are not sure their voice is heard. Other companies choose to invest efforts on the front end of the research process by incentivizing employees to participate, rather than the back end where they are genuinely interested in the employee insights and then sharing results.

Steps to move you closer toward Committed / Creating Impact:

  • Standardize a survey establishing a benchmark.
  • Communicate responses with actions (50 percent of the story in this situation is better than nothing).
  • Set up third-party administration and evaluation to encourage acceptance by the workforce.
  • Address gaps and share the expectations to ensure accountability.

Lever 2: Vision

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant companies and leadership teams set a vision for the organization. However, the vision is rarely clearly articulated, updated, or shared with the organization, or aligned with its mission and values. It is often a lofty set of generic goals that are disconnected with the organization’s core. They are also often ubiquitous, non-differentiated and the sort of thing that can be found in any company and which are unlikely to inspire anyone.

Steps to move you closer toward Committed / Creating Impact:

  • Link vision to mission and the organization’s identity.
  • Define vision and expected outcomes using differentiated and core values.
  • Use 27 words or fewer to create a vision—bring it to life in “two or three words.”
  • Define key phrases of the vision statement with clear outcomes.

Lever 3: Strategic Plan

Being Compliant/Underperforming:

Compliant organizations place emphasis on the creation of an often-robust plan. It becomes a once-every-one-to-three-year exercise, often for compliance or board requirements. The plan, rather than the planning, becomes the focus, leaving the organization with a static document rarely tethered to organizational goals and actions. Many compliant plans have limited accountability measures attached.

Steps to move you closer toward Committed / Creating Impact:

  • Make planning a discipline (over the simple deliverable of a plan).
  • Invest in listening to your team and crowdsource their buy-in and contribution.
  • Create structure for monthly, quarterly, and annual updates.
  • Conduct at least one annual “PitStop” (not a retreat – more on this is coming in a future article)
  • Communicate expectations and progress with your organization.
  • Trust your team to own their outcomes, and support their progress towards them.

These levers together will have a demonstrable impact on moving your organization toward positivity and propelling performance. The next eight levers will be discussed in the next two upcoming Moments of Clarity columns. If you simply can’t wait, please learn how to create impact and generate organizational change by visiting our website at  www.clarity.bm or reaching out to us directly.