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Help Your Team Move Mountains Together

July 9, 2018

 

How about this stat to start your day:

 

"Only one-third of managers could correctly identify their firms’ top three priorities, a survey found."

 

Yikes. 

 

As leaders, we all have big goals we are trying to achieve for the organization. Perhaps it’s a sales or growth number. Or the goal to create a best place to work.

 

And we talk about these goals with our team. And we talk and talk and talk. But apparently, not as many people are listening as we hoped.  

 

If you're a leader, you might be wondering why don’t they get it? If people talk about wanting transparency, what more do they want? 

 

The trouble isn’t that they don’t get it. They hear you. They see what the organization is capable of. 


The problem might be that they're not seeing how they connect to that goal. 

 

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Confucius said that. 

 

The trouble is that your team doesn’t see the stone they need to move versus the mountain of opportunity that you see. The employee sees that there is a mountain there - they don’t see what they can do to help move the mountain.

 

To gain buy-in, employees need to know what their stone is. What are the things that need to be moved in order to achieve the overall goal? To help you connect the mountain to the stones for your employees, try this exercise:

 

Step 1: Draw the mountain

To help us in this task, picture your goal as a mountain. Draw it on a piece of paper as a triangle, and write your goal at the summit of the mountain. It can be a specific goal, such as to become a $5 million company, or aspirational, such as to create an amazing company culture.

 

Step 2: Identify the big rocks

Working with your direct team, ask them, "What are the big rocks that need to be moved?" These bigger rocks are what the team or department goals will be that help us move our overall goal. If you’re a more visionary thinker than a tactical thinker, use your team to help you identify those big rocks. Chances are the team sees those tactics, but they just need help in constructing the overall picture.

 

Step 3: Allow the team to identify the smaller stones

Allow your team to work together to identify the smaller stones that support the bigger rock. By repeating the above steps, the team is able to work together to see how they are individually involved in the process.

 

Taking the right perspective will help you communicate not only the mountain, but how you move it together. Remember, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. An African proverb said that. 

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