Leadership : Tips for Effective Leadership: Do Not Have Goals and Objectives

Dr. Wolf J. Rinke is a management consultant, executive coach and keynote speaker dedicated to helping organizations and individuals maximize their potential.

In addition to his new book 'Don't Oil the Squeaky Wheel … and 19 Other Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness' (McGraw-Hill, May 2004), he is the author of several other best-selling books including 'Winning Management: 6 Fail-Safe Strategies for Building High-Performance Organizations'.

Rinke can be reached at 800-828-9653, WolfRinke@aol.com or www.WolfRinke.com .


Effective leaders have the guts to look at what others do … and do something different.

We’ve all heard how important it is to set goals and objectives. I disagree. Instead, I recommend that you establish one HOG - a Humongous Overarching Goal - that drives employees' energies in laser-like fashion in a singular direction for the next 10-30 years, and makes your vision come alive. Unlike multiple goals and objectives, a HOG with teeth, meaning that you have specific metrics in place that track progress, tends to focus various parts of an organization to create strategic alignment and big results.

There are 9 steps to follow to make your HOG come alive:

Step 1: Define your strategic direction. If you defined your vision, i.e. what you want to be when your company grows up, you’ve got this done.

Step 2: Define your HOG. Make sure you pick only one, that it is a really humongous overarching stretch goal that defines the direction of your organization for the next 10-30 years, that it has only about a 50-75 percent probability of success, and that everyone in your organization from executives to front line employees can directly or indirectly have an impact on it. Your team members have no reason to stretch if they can’t influence the outcome.

Step 3: Establish benchmarks and a tracking system. Achieving a HOG can be an extremely long-term process -10-30 years in this highly competitive global economy is an eternity. So you need a tracking system that monitors progress to let team members know how well they are doing. For example Continental Airlines measured achievement of their HOG - on-time performance ranking among the top three airlines - on a monthly basis. Be sure to identify interim benchmarks that are widely understood by all team members, measurable, and tied directly to the attainment of the HOG.

Step 4: Develop an incentive system that is tied to the attainment of the HOG. I call this a HIR - a Humongous Incredible Reward. In an ideal world, the reward system should be a combination of external (e.g. money) and internal (e.g. sense of satisfaction) rewards. If in doubt, be more generous than you think it’s wise. And be sure that awards and incentives are important to your team members.

Step 5: Communicate and educate. Any time you are attempting to change anything in your organization you have to tell people more than they want to know and tell them more often than you think is wise, using every media available to you. When the enthusiasm wanes, it’s time for more communication.

Step 6: Walk your talk. The entire senior executive team needs to passionately demonstrate their commitment to the HOG by showing team members what they are doing to support the achievement of the HOG and by talking about the heroes who have gone beyond the call of duty to contribute to the attainment of the HOG.

Step 7: Get rid of roadblocks. Engage team members in conversations about what stands in their way of achieving the HOG. Be sure to listen actively - which is really tough to do - take notes, and most importantly take action. And then report back to team members to let them know what you have done. And if you can’t do something, tell them that too, and the reason why.

Step 8: Change the HOG as necessary. Unlike core values, which never change, you should be willing to modify the HOG. Let’s say that the HOG was to open 500 new stores every year - which was Starbucks’ goal - and you’re finding that that’s a no- brainer. Change it to become “the most recognized brand worldwide, on par with Coca Cola” which is what Starbucks is working towards.

Step 9: Celebrate More, and More Often than You Think is Wise. Make sure that you celebrate incremental attainment of the HOG. HOGs, by their very nature, take a long time to achieve, and you need to continue to keep your team members fired up. If you have trouble keeping your great team members engaged in the pursuit of the HOG ask yourself and them how much fun they are having doing it. Having fun is what this is all about. If the energy diminishes, it’s time for more celebration, more pep rallies and more fun. Remember: “If it’s fun, it gets done.”


Source: Rinke, W. J. 'Don’t Oil the Squeaky Wheel and 19 Other Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness'. McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004, available at major bookstores or www.WolfRinke.com.


Copyright Wolf Rinke 2004

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