I love bicycling. And I love watching the Tour de France, the Super Bowl of cycling. The Tour is an annual 21-stage race with three weeks of furious cycling primarily held in France. This year it was mountain-heavy and covered 2,084 miles with only two rest days. One thing I know is that herculean challenges like the Tour provide some great lessons about teamwork and leadership.
With arms over each other’s shoulders, linked together for their slow-motion victorious finish, second time Tour winner, Chris Froome, and his cycling teammates pedaled over the finish line on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Even though Froome won the Tour as an individual, it took a team to support him.
Speaking about his team (other cyclists, the bicycling maintenance people, the team chef, the race team director, etc.), Froome said, “This is your yellow jersey as much as it is mine.”
The television commentators on NBCSN would often say that any member on Froome’s cycling team was so talented that they could be leaders of their own cycling team.
What Froome knew was…
“Everybody on the championship team doesn’t get publicity, but everyone can say he’s a champion.” – Earvin “Magic” Johnson
How to win championships
Those who win championships understand the first and most fundamental step toward success is to surround themselves with highly motivated people who form a high-performance team and who have a “can-do” spirit.
In an organization, it is a culture in which superior performance has become a habit.
People like to feel good about themselves. And the most sure-fire way for people to feel good about themselves is to have a sense of achievement and recognition for goals they have achieved.
Since success has been defined as the achievement of one or more pre-determined goal(s), goal setting is the logical starting point for an achievement journey.
Insight: Leaders in pursuit of peak-performance teams have learned that how goals are determined are as important as the clarity of the goals themselves.
Is setting goals top-down or bottom-up?
So should planning and goal setting be from the top-down or the bottom-up?
The answer is YES!
The goal setting process should be based on dialogues, not monologues.
“One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” – John Maxwell
People don’t like performing for arbitrary authority figures. When people are relegated to carrying out someone else’s orders, they are prevented from having a full measure of the opportunity to achieve.
They can’t get truly inspired about peak performance unless they are shown enough respect to be asked for their input on what goals are most challenging and worthy.
However, organizations led by empowering leaders can reach performance levels unheard of…And even undreamed of.
Empowering leaders ask three questions
Empowering leaders seek input from their employees at the very beginning of the goal setting process and before defining any team or organization goals.
And they do so by both…
- MBWA (management by walking/wandering around) is an unstructured manner of walking/wandering through the workplace to talk with employees or inquire about the status of ongoing work.
- Group exercises to brainstorm and facilitate ideas and thoughts.
Also, empowering leaders ask:
- Who can help me set a better goal?
- Who will have to carry it out?
- Who will be impacted by it?
When you, as the leader, use these three questions and sincerely seek your people’s input, they have a better understanding of and commitment to the goals that you collaboratively set.
Comment: This is NOT goal setting by a committee. The leader still must decide the future direction and goal(s) for the organization.
However, when employees are involved in the development/creation and implementation planning stages, they take pride in the achievement of the goals.
The empowering leader can improve their team’s performance by understanding the following five benefits.
Five benefits of team goal setting
When you involve your people in the goal setting process, you can…
- Afford yourselves more resources, ideas, and energy than you would as an individual.
- Maximize your team’s potential and minimize their weakness. Strengths and weakness are more exposed in individuals.
- Better devise several alternatives when teams provide multiple perspectives on how to reach a goal. Individual insight is seldom as broad and deep as a team is when setting goals.
- Share with the team the credit for victories and the blame for losses.
- Simply do more as a team than as an individual.
Is planning and goal setting from the top-down or the bottom-up?
The answer is YES!
It might be helpful to observe that in order to get the power in em-POWER-ing to work, it is necessary to recognize the “we” within poWEr.
Have you surrounded yourself with highly motivated people who form a high-performance team and who have a “can-do” spirit? Would you like to become an empowering leader? Please share your thoughts <here> and share this blog post with a friend and co-worker.