Accomplishment is so tricky because it largely depends on what the definition of accomplishment is. I think this is one reason why so many times leaders gravitate towards setting goals and sticking to them with- laser like focus. When we set goals which are very clear there is little question as to whether or not we have actually accomplished what we have set out to do. The very nature of leadership is one of movement and progress, whether it be personally, organizationally or in most instances all of the above. While this is not supposed to be an exhaustive list, I wanted to share a few things to consider to aid you in accomplishing whatever it is you set out to do . The simple words which come to my mind are WHAT, WHY, HOW and WHO. If the leader can answer these questions they will progress towards their desired accomplishment.
- What? – If the leader can not identify what needs to be accomplished, it will never happen. The old saying goes like this, “The most accurate individual in the world is the one that never aims at anything.” Clearly define what needs to happen either personally or organizationally and articulate it. The simple act of articulating what needs to happen releases incredible momentum towards accomplishing the task. If using the analogy of a road trip, asking what is like making the decision of where you would like to go.
- Why? When the leader knows what needs to happen, they must then answer the question of why it needs to happen. Asking why will not only create buy-in towards the needed change, but it will also create urgency for the task. Why is a question of purpose and purpose brings clarity to you and those you lead. Clearly communicate the purpose for the task and it will instill motivation towards accomplishing the goal. Going back to the analogy of a road trip, asking why is the equivalent of determining the incredible things about the destination you have chosen to visit which you are not part of your current reality.
- How? How is a question of strategy. The leader may know what must be done and even have an incredible urgency surrounding why it must be done as it ties back to purpose yet, if the leader lacks a strategy or plan to achieve the task it will fail. Developing a strategic plan separates the dreamers from the doers. How forces us to move from theory to implementation. If what is the destination and why is the reason for the road trip, how is choosing the highway or road that you will take to get where you are going all while keeping your resources in mind. If you choose the wrong road you could run out of resources before ever getting to your destination.
- Who? Who forces us determine what kind of leader we need to be to realize the task before us. Strategy, Purpose and Goals mean nothing if the leader is not mentally, emotionally and physically equipped for the road ahead. While many leaders can begin noble causes, only those who have asked the tough question of who will come out the other side mentally, emotionally and physically intact. Imagine for a moment that you spent hours determining where you wanted to go and why you wanted to go there. Then, once you have invested yourself into where and why, you spend valuable time finding out how your going to get there. It would only make sense that for this type of road trip to be successful would require a captain, or a driver that has experience on long road trips. Answering the question of who you need to be before you take the trip could save you a lot of pain in the middle of your journey.
As a leader, WHAT needs to happen? WHY does it need to happen? HOW is it going to happen? Lastly, WHO do you need to become to see it happen? Now, go and accomplish it.