Executive Coaching & Development, Leadership Training, Strategic Planning & More | Chicago, IL | Primer Michaels
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Building Momentum and Engagement

In the context of senior leadership teams, we define momentum by progress on the track toward goal attainment. The track is the specific objectives, and by laying track we mean having a shared understanding of where are we going and why are we going there, and being able to tell where we are now relative to where we hoped to be.

There are two key indicators that we have momentum. One is that we are either accomplishing our milestones or we know why we are not. We are very clear on the status with regard to our journey. The second indicator of momentum is how people are feeling. They are feeling a level of engagement and a notion of pride. They know they are making progress even if they are having challenges. There are conversations happening on the subjects. There is unsolicited participation, support and advice being offered. You can visit an organization or a team with momentum, and just by watching and listening, you can tell they have gotten traction on their plan.

Organizations have a hard time with momentum because of obstacles from two places. One is that they leave their strategic initiatives at too high a level. Everybody has the shared idea of the initiatives, but there is no real action plan. We do not know who is doing what by when. Therefore, the track is not really laid. Secondly, organizations and teams take on too much. They have too many objectives they are trying to accomplish, and then they pile on the business opportunities and dynamics that occur after they have made decisions about their initiatives.

Momentum requires that everybody have a shared understanding of why we are doing what we are doing. It is hard work and it is not really the day job. A strategic initiative is on top of the day job. Everyone must understand why the strategic initiative is important, what difference it will make, what his or her role is in the initiative, why we care about it and how we are doing. When those shared understandings are communicated and people get them, there will be good momentum toward the goal. Momentum also requires feedback. When people get direct feedback about how they are doing as a team and how they are doing as individuals relative to the initiative, it is very meaningful. They want to be able to connect the dots. They want to know, “Do I make a difference? How am I making a difference? What am I doing well? What might I do more of or less of?” Ensuring that meaning is established builds momentum and engagement.

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