The Art of Strengths Coaching

S is for Setting Up Things To Succeed

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Superb workers set up things to succeed rather than fail. They take this step whether planning to climb a mountain, build a relationship, lead a team, tackle a project or whatever.

Such workers plan properly and do their due diligence. Bearing in mind what they can control in the situation, they often do the following things.

They clarify the real results to achieve – the picture of success.

They clarify the key strategies they can follow to give themselves the greatest chance of success.

They clarify the resources required and how to implement the right strategy with the right people in the right way.

They clarify the challenges they will face and how to manage these challenges successfully.

They clarify how they can perform superb work, encourage themselves and others and do whatever else is required to achieve the picture of success.

Such workers rehearse everything. Certainly I have found this when working with people who aimed to change their lifestyle, play a sport, sail around the world, shift a company culture or whatever.

The first step was to clarify their picture of success. Bearing this in mind, we focused on what was most likely to work. We then rehearsed how to implement these strategies to achieve the picture of success.

Superb workers are like mountain climbers. They clarify the real result to achieve – such as getting up and down the mountain safely. They clarify the problems they might meet, how to prevent these happening and how to manage such events if they do happen. They then rehearse again the strategies for achieving success.

Looking back, can you think of a time when you set up things to succeed rather than fail? You may have been preparing for a job interview, running a workshop, taking over a team or whatever. What were the specific things you did to increase the chances of success?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you did your best to set up things to succeed.

Describe the specific things you did to take these steps.

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of taking these steps.

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How can you set up things to succeed? Let’s explore one scenario.

Imagine you have applied for a leader’s role. You will aim to impress at the interview, but it is also vital to ensure that both the team and yourself stand a good chance of success. Here are some steps you can take to make this happen.

You can clarify the
team’s
chances of success

Start by doing your homework before the interview. Gather all the information necessary to enable you to rate the team’s chances of success. You will be looking for a rating of at least 7/10. When doing your due diligence, it may be useful to do the following things.

Clarify who will be the key stakeholders.

Identify the people who can hire or fire you. These include the key stakeholders such as your manager, their boss and maybe other people.

Clarify the stakeholders’ picture of success.

Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what they must deliver in terms of the 3 Ps: profitability, product quality – including service quality – and people.

Bearing these targets in mind, clarify what they will want your team to deliver. You will by judged by whether or not you reach these targets.

Clarify the controllables.

Identify what you can and can’t control when leading the team. Clarify the resources you will need to ensure the team reaches its goals.

Clarify the team’s chances of success.

Bearing in mind the answers to the previous questions, rate the team’s chances of success. Do this on a scale 0—10.

If it is less than 7, forget it. If it is 7+, clarify what must be done to increase the chances to get closer to 10/10.

Assuming you still want the role, let’s go onto the next step. This is the actual interview with the key stakeholders.

You can establish clarity and
make clear working contracts

Before the interview rehearse every scenario and potential question you may be asked. Clarify what you want the stakeholders to be saying after the interview. You may want them to say, for example:

The candidate really did their homework … They know our business and the challenges we face … They understand the world from our point of view … They know the results we want delivered … They will deliver the goods … They will be a superb appointment … When can hire them? 

Make your plans for doing your best to get the desired response. It is then time for the formal interview.

Start by establishing credibility. Reassure the stakeholders and show you can deliver results. Show that you understand the world from their point of view. You may say something like:

As far as I understand it, the results you want the team to deliver are:  

To

To  

To  

Is there anything else you want delivered?

As far as I understand it, the key principles you want the team to follow to achieve the goals are:

To

To  

To

Bearing these things in mind, the specific results I will aim to deliver – and the specific things I will do to proactively keep you informed about the progress towards achieving the goals – are: 

To

To  

To  

After establishing credibility, focus on clarity, contracting and concrete results. Double-check the agreed picture of success. Make sure everybody agrees on the outcomes that must be delivered and by when.

Play back your understanding of the results they want delivered. Explain how you will proactively keep them informed about your progress towards achieving the goals.

Reassure the stakeholders by describing how you will get some early wins. Make clear contracts about ‘What’ you will deliver, ‘How’ you will keep them informed and ‘When’ they can expect your team to deliver specific results.

Your aim is to get the stakeholders across the emotional line where they really want to hire you. Once they get over this line, you can then make clear contracts about the support required to deliver the goods.

Imagine, for example, that you may need to make changes in the team. During your pre-interview research you may have found that the team consisted of six positive people, two positive-neutral people and two negative people. You may then say to the key stakeholders:

I will deliver the results. This calls for having positive people who behave in a professional way and want to achieve the goals.

I will give everybody the chance to make their best contributions to the team. If people choose not to be positive or professional, however, I will get people who want to achieve the goals.

At that point I will need your backing, but I will deliver the results.

Conclude the interview by saying you will email them to summarise your understanding of the meeting and how you will deliver success. Thank people for their time. After the meeting, send the follow up email and again summarise what has been discussed. 

Let’s imagine you get the role. It is then time to go onto the next step.

You can deliver
concrete results
 

You will lead the team on your own way. One approach that works, however, is to build a super team. You can discover more about how to make this happen via the following link.

https://www.thepositiveencourager.global/the-super-teams-approach/

Remember you are still on trial, so start by getting some quick successes. This will buy time and reassure people that they have made the right decision.

Keep close to your stakeholders, keep them informed and show you are on top of the job. Clarify the tough decisions that must be taken and, where you have the autonomy to act, make these decisions.

What if you don’t have sufficient autonomy or the stakeholders break any agreed contracts? Set up a meeting with the stakeholders.

Reaffirm the agreed ‘What’ – the picture of success. Then calmly outline the possible strategies for going forward, together with the respective pluses and minuses. Get the authority needed to act. If you don’t get it, consider your future.

The good news is that – providing you involve the stakeholders in exploring the choices and consequences – they will often provide the required backing. You can then do what is required to build a superb team and deliver the goods.

Great leaders know they will be judged by their results. So they start by getting the foundations right. They implement the right strategy with the right people in the right way. This calls for doing everything possible to set up the team to succeed.

There is one final point to bear in mind regarding your work in the role and your future career. Security is to have an alternative.

Keep being professional and doing superb work. At the same time, however, keep giving to the people in your network and helping them to succeed. You may then have more options to explore in case things do not work out.

Different people choose different way to set up things to succeed. They take these steps when aiming to develop a relationship, do satisfying work, build successful prototypes or whatever.

Looking to the future, can you think of a situation where you want to set up things to succeed? This could be in your personal or professional life. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but it makes sense to improve the chances of success.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to do your best to set up things to succeed. 

Describe the specific things you can do to take these steps.  

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of taking these steps.

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