I’m a big proponent of personal growth. But when, a few months ago, my own person had grown too much, I decided to drop about 12-15 pounds, or about a stone in my wife’s British parlance.
I knew that I felt, and functioned, better at 195 pounds, and so I picked that number as my goal. Then – and this, I knew, was the only way it would work for me – I shared that goal with my family, and the guys I work out with at the health club. I knew they’d keep me honest. And they did.
Every morning that I was at the gym (roughly 3 times a week), there was a weigh-in. With an audience. As one who craves approval and eschews disapprobation (who doesn’t?), I was motivated by what I knew would be my friends’ reaction when the number trended downward, and the razzing I’d get if it went in the wrong direction.
It must have worked. I’ve been a little below 195 for a good month now, and my gym buddies have been relentless in applying the pressure to keep it that way.
I don’t know about you, but for me, private goals are much harder to reach than those I share with people who care about me. Maybe if I were more disciplined, it wouldn’t be that way. But there I am.
It works the same way with professional goals. So here’s an assignment – one that I give to almost every leadership audience I speak for.
Pick one leadership trait – something that you know you could improve on. If your brain needs a little jogging, here’s a non-exhaustive list of suggestions:
Now, resolve to get better at whatever trait you picked, over the next, say, 90 days. Next, find somebody who will hold you accountable for reaching that goal. Share it with them, and ask them to help you hold yourself accountable. It doesn’t matter what position this person has in your organization, but it should be someone who has ample opportunity to observe your leadership behavior, AND someone who cares enough about you that they’ll give you bone honest feedback about how you’re doing.
My bet is – if you’ve got someone holding you accountable, you’ll reach your goal, and get better at whatever you pick.
Now – if you manage other managers, expand on the value of this assignment by giving it to every other leader who reports to you.
Then, please let us hear from you. Ninety days from today, we’ll post a reminder blog in this spot. We’d love to learn about your results.