015: Using planning to keep your team informed and motivated

Ever get frustrated that your team doesn’t know what is going on in the business, despite numerous communications from you?

Get surprised when someone tells you that they didn’t know about an important deadline that you’ve emailed out to all staff 100 times?

Find that your team isn’t working on the highest priority?

If this sounds familiar, here’s some tough love for you: even though you think you are communicating well, you aren’t. Yes, this is on you, not on your team.

So how do you get your team to listen, pay attention to those incredibly important goals and take action on them?

Well the answer definitely isn’t to speak louder or send more emails! Instead, it is time to involve them in planning.

If you are wondering how to do that without drowning in voices, ideas, conflicting priorities, or concerned that having everyone involved in planning is a waste of time, this episode is for you. I take you through a very simple recipe to get full team engagement, which for a small upfront time cost on your part can save weeks of unproductive effort and missed deadlines.

Ready to take control of Q4 and wrap up 2020 with a team filled with clarity, passionate and excitement for shared goals? Let’s go to the show!

Show Notes

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Hello, hello, leading women in tech. How are you doing? I hope your week is going well. I have some exciting news for you before we dig into the topic of today’s podcast and really get in how to use planning to get your team involved in those goals. Before we do that, let me tell you something that’s coming. I have been developing a free mini course for you. Yes, free. It’s going to be a five-part training, five modules, five lessons, which will help you to understand imposter syndrome or why it’s impacting you and the impact on others. You’ll learn how to spot imposter syndrome in those around you, so you can be a better leader, because we are here to uplevel our leadership in tech. Right? But also how to spot it in yourself even if you think it’s not there most of the time.

If you’ve ever had that self-doubt gremlin sitting on your shoulder, telling you you’re not good enough, feeling like a fraud. Well, I’m going to tell you in this five-part free mini course, how to use some tools and practices to build understanding and knowledge and compassion for yourself and develop your and your team’s confidence.

Enjoy greater levels of motivation, productivity, and effectiveness in you and those that you manage and get you on the road to less stress, less hustle, and no more exhausting cycles of procrastination followed by over work.

So if you are ready to ditch your self-doubt, leverage your way to a healthier leadership style and get on with the day job instead of thinking that you’re a fraud all the time, then I would love for you to get on the wait list for the mini course. It will be landing very soon, but it’s not quite ready yet. If you want to be one of the first people to get access the day it drops, head over to tonicollis.com/impostersyndrome.

I will put the link in the show notes. So head to tonicollis.com/episode15 for the show notes or in your favorite podcast player and you can sign up. This is totally free. This is just something I’m super passionate about, I have been teaching about imposter syndrome for eight years now. It is a subject very dear to my heart. The day I realized that this was a thing, it was like a light bulb went off in my brain and I was like, wow, everybody has the chance to feel this way, I’m not the only one that thinks I’m only here because they made a mistake. And ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to really share with the world how to not just identify imposter syndrome, because it turns out it’s not just that fraud type feeling, it’s any self-doubt quite often comes from an underlying level of imposter syndrome, so I’m on a mission to change that.

So if this sounds good to you, whether you are doing it for yourself or for those that you lead, because part of your job as a leader is to help see this in others. I actually had a conversation with a client earlier this week, who was really frustrated with a member of staff not showing up in the right way, challenging her all the time and I was like, this sounds like they don’t actually have a lot of confidence and the way they’re behaving sounds like they are doing that because they are lacking confidence. And she went back, she had another conversation and sure enough, that’s what’s going on. So as a leader, understanding how imposter syndrome plays out, even if it’s not how it would play out in yourself is such a powerful thing for you to uplevel your leadership. So I urge you to go to tonicollis.com/impostersyndrome and get yourself on that wait list. And it will be landing in your inbox very, very soon. Oh, I’m super excited.

Just one more note before we kick off… Actually two. Because I do like to give you updates of what’s going on around here. So you might not be able to tell, in fact because I have an amazing podcast editor, you almost certainly can’t tell. But for the last week and for today’s episode as well, so it’s the second episode that I’ve been doing this. I am in a new room, the husband and I have decided that I needed to move rooms in the house. For the last three years I’ve been working from my dining room and we’ve decided we want our dining room back, and more to the point. I now have a sit-stand desk. I’m super excited about it.

This means that rather than stacking of boxes… Because I like to stand up for my podcast, I have my hands going all the time. I know I hit my microphone and my poor podcast editor has to deal with me hitting the microphone. They are the rockstar of the team that do my podcast… Are absolute rock stars, because I really… I cough all the time because I have asthma and I hit the microphone. I don’t know how they deal with me, but in the dining room I used to just put my microphone on boxes, now I have this beautiful sit-stand desk, I have a podcast arm and I’m stood up right now and it’s totally awesome.

So I just wanted to share that with you because I feel like as we’re working from home more and we’re all getting into a new rhythm of what that means or semi permanently, even though I’ve been working at home for three years, my husband has only been working at home since March when COVID hit.

And so this is… We’re trying to figure this out and how is this going to work long term. I just wanted to share that with you. Some exciting news. The final thing before we dig into today’s podcast topic is, I just wanted to give you a heads up that my coaching program is now full, but before you panic, I am now filling up my wait-list, but there are only two spots on my wait-list and I’m recording this about six days before this episode lands.

So if you are interested in working with me during 2020… And my prices are going up next year. So if you would like to work with me, get ahead in your leadership, get ahead in your career at my current price point, head over to tonicollis.com/workwithtoni or read about working with me or if you know this is what you want and you’ve just been waiting for an excuse, this is your excuse me. My wait-list is filling up rapidly and once I have those two spots filled, I will be closing my wait-list. Yes, I’m not just filling up a wait list. I’m actually going to be closing it because I don’t want to have people waiting ages to work with me, so. Because I don’t think that’s fair on you either.

So if this is an interest to you and you want to get on at my current prices… Because I hold clients at the price, they joined my coaching program on, so if you start working with me now, you’ll get that price for pretty much indefinitely until I decide that model isn’t working. Well, and whenever I’ve had clients work with me for many years, I might have to revisit that, but so far this model is working splendidly and I love to give my clients who are loyal to me, that little bonus by keeping them at the price they come in at.

So if that’s you and you would like to have a chat head over to tonicollis.com/workwithtoni and scroll down to the bottom and there’s a discovery call booking link there. Or you can go straight to bit.ly/discovertoni and use that link to go and book yourself a discovery call. A discovery call by the way is really just a chat about what you need in terms of support, where you are in your career, whether I’m the right fit for you or whether somebody else would be or different kinds of support, because I don’t just work with everybody that comes to me. I think it’s really important that we both agree that we’re a good fit because we have to have a huge amount of trust for you to really take advantage of coaching, and so sometimes people aren’t a great fit with me and that’s totally cool.

So it really is about chatting about where you are in your career, where you want to go next and whether I am the right person to support you in that. Sounds interesting? Go and check that out. Okay.

Let’s crack on with today’s episode. The quarterly planning season is now on us, and in fact, I recorded this episode… I am recording this episode, because I realized that planning is not something that everybody finds as easy as I do. A lot of people don’t plan out their year, they don’t plan out their quarters. They don’t plan out their months. And as much as I know that this comes relatively easily to me because I am a planner at heart, I realized that many people aren’t planners, and that’s fine, that’s totally cool. But here’s the thing in business and in leadership, you do need a plan and more of the point, when you plan well, that whole communication hurdle of how do I get team buy-in, how do I make sure that they know what we’re doing on time without sending them a hundred emails that they don’t read, without posting on a message board that they don’t check, without bombarding them with stuff in Slack, which just distracts them from getting on with their job, without micromanaging them…

Well, planning is a fantastic tool to get buy-in and knowledge of what’s coming and actually, as a leader, planning is kind of essential. I learned this the necessary way of working in academia, where you submit grant proposals, which have very much detailed project plans in this day and age, you can’t really get funded in academia… You can’t get a grant in the door if you don’t have a very detailed project plan that maps out deliverables for the next three to five years, it’s kind of crazy. You were saying, I’m going to discover this thing and I’m going to write something about it in five years time, it’s really sucks as a way to do your project management, but it’s how you get grant money in as a researcher.

So I learned this tactic then, but a lot of the time I realized that the people writing the grants, the PIs is they’re called in academia in case you’re not from that area, would write these things in silos or maybe with a couple of other people called your co PIs involved. And that meant that when the team came on… Now, sometimes you hire people specifically to take on the work, but you had to work so much harder to get them engaged, to get them to be bought-in. And sometimes you’d find that somebody was hired in and the person that did the hiring gave them the wrong idea, because they weren’t involved in writing a project plan either. And so when I moved to corporate, one of the things I started doing, which I now do today, is I do quarterly planning. I do annual planning as well, but I do quarterly planning with my team and I did this in the C-suite and then I’ll do it running my own business.

Every quarter I sit down with direct reports and I work through the plan for the quarter. So right now is a perfect time to do that. As you’re listening to this podcast, Q4 is probably about to start. If you’re listening to it on Tuesday, the day this drops, you have one, two days. I can’t think of what day of the month Tuesday is, but you are really right at the end of the quarter, so you can still do this. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time, although the bigger your team, the more time you want to spend on this, but in general for a small team, you’re talking half a day, right? And you could be done. You can do this at the beginning of court. It doesn’t have to be done before the end of the previous quarter.

You want to look at your goals for 2020. You want to see how you’re going to tie them off, even if they’ve changed because yes, 2020 has been the year of throwing away the goals and changing them and that’s totally cool. Goals and planning should be adaptable, should be malleable, should adapt to change and to do that effectively without pivoting left, right and center… And I have seen my fair share of that, where goals are changed on a weekly basis, throwing a development team into chaos… That’s really bad… That’s the other extreme of planning without a real plan, with just changing priorities all the time and that’s really frustrating for your team as well. I’ve seen experienced managers doing that.

So it’s really good to have a look at your 2020 goals and how you’re going to tie them off. And then as you step back and having a look at the goals you want to tie off for the rest of the year, ask yourself, are you frustrated by not having people in your organization know what’s going on? Do you feel like you tell them all of the time, “This is our number one priority. Why aren’t you listening? Why aren’t you doing that?” You send hundreds of emails, you bring it up in weekly meetings, and yet it just isn’t going in. You’re like, “How did you not know that? I’ve been shouting about that for months now.”

This is happening because they aren’t engaged. It’s just noise. And you’ve must have been in those meetings where you’re sat there going, I don’t know why I’m here and I just haven’t listened for the last five minutes and then somebody says your name, “Oh gosh, I’ve better pay attention.” A lot of our meetings are like that. Now, we can do a whole episode on how to improve meetings, to make meetings more effective, waste less time, stop those zoning-out moments for your team, because if you’re doing them, your team’s doing it too. It is such a time suck, and not a good thing. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter how many times you say about priority or a goal or an action and you get blue in the face if it’s not going in.

What we want to do is take those 2020 goals that you want to tie off for Q4, and get your team involved in goal setting and planning to tie those goals off because we want to take these big goals and we want to say, okay, how are we going to achieve that in Q4? Now, if we’d done this earlier in the year, we’d be, “What’s the 2020 goal. What’s our Q3 goal? What’s our Q2 goal? How can we do… What is the goal long way to get to our annual goal?” To wrap off 2020, you’re basically setting your goals for Q4 to be the final part of the stuff that’s not wrapped up, but you might want sub goals along the way.

So what does this process? How do you revolve everyone and without getting overwhelmed by contributions? How do you not spend five days just listening to noise and everybody then getting annoyed that they don’t get their thing involved with this plan that you’re putting together? And how can you do this if you’ve got people above you who are saying, “Nope, this isn’t how we do planning in our community. This isn’t how we do planning in our team.”

Well, I’m going to share this with you. This process… What I’m about share with you. I have done for many years when I worked in a small team or when I’ve worked in large teams, when I ran Women in High Performance Computing, an international charity, in the C-suite and now running my own business. I still use the same methodology, but it’s something you can adapt for every single team size and whatever level of leadership you’re in. As soon as you have anybody reporting to you, you can use this process. If you don’t have anybody reporting to you can still use this process for two reasons.

You can use it for your own planning and actually the end part of this, where I take big audacious goals and break it down into, what do I need to do today is a process I use with all of my one-on-one clients for their personal goal planning, not just their organization’s team planning to make them better leaders, but I want you to have personal goals.

So you want to be able to do this for yourself, this whole process, but even if you don’t manage people, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to sit down with your peers and have this conversation, because remember to uplevel and get ahead in your job and your career. One of the best things to do is to demonstrate that you’re already doing the job of a leader, of a manager. What better way to do that than to lead a planning session? So if your boss isn’t doing it, how about getting together with a couple of your peers and hashing out a plan. You might need to do that delicately. You might want to involve your boss… Trust that you know how to go about this the right away, but don’t sit in that imposter syndrome that says, “Oh, no, no, no, I can’t do that because…” Actually have legit reasons for not doing it, not just because you’re afraid of what might happen and that’s not valid. Unintentional segway there.

If you think imposter syndrome is what is holding you back. If you’ve got that self-doubt sitting on your shoulder criticizing you, head to tonicollis.com/impostersyndrome to get on the wait list for my five-part free mini course landing soon. Like I said, unintentional segway there.

Okay. So how do we do this? Here’s the process I go through. Every quarter I sit down with my direct reports, even in my own small business now, I sit down and I review the annual goals I have for the year. If you are doing this with the team, you want to go through these goals with your team. If you’re a team full of people that have their own teams, fabulous, ideally they would go through this with their teams first. They would take the goals that their team has come up with to fulfill the next level’s up goal, so you’re talking a tree structure unit here. You’ve got your organization goals. You’ve got the goals at whatever level you sit at if you’re not the CEO. Then the people that report to you will have their goals for achieving the goals that you’re setting them and etc.

It goes down, so you need to understand where you sit in the hierarchy of goal setting for the organization, because at the end of the day, if you’re not fulfilling some sort of goal for your organization, why are you there? I have seen companies where genuinely, I think their goal was make more money. And that’s not a goal, that’s a desire. How are you going to achieve that? Don’t just say, “I’m going to just take any contract that comes my way.” That doesn’t achieve anything either, that just says to me, boom, we’ll do any work, it doesn’t matter if we’re qualified for it. You have no niche.

I want you to get really specific on what your goals are and then how you’re going to achieve them. So sit down, go back through those goals that you had for the year and look at what needs to be done between now and the end of the year to achieve those annual goals. And remember, you should be doing this every single quarter. So in Q1, you’ll be setting your annual goals… Well, maybe at the end of Q4. And you’ll be also then setting your quarterly goals to achieve those annual goals.

You want to gather feedback on what has gone well in the last quarter or year from your team, and they should be doing that from their direct reports as well. So if you’re just doing this and you were just doing it with a group of peers, just ask everybody what has been going well, what’s gone well, what’s been a challenge, what opportunities have come our way, what should we have done differently and how… What exciting ideas? And that’s the key one, it’s scary to ask. What exciting ideas do you have because can of worms, people are like, “I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to do the other. I want this thing.” But if you can take those exciting ideas and align them with the goals, this is how you get buy-in.

This is how you make them realize, “Oh my goodness me, not only do I get to do something I’m excited by, but I’m contributing to the bigger picture.” People love to contribute to something big. It excites us. It gets us out of bed in the morning, so give them the opportunity to contribute to how that big thing is going to be done.

At the end of the day if you can allow somebody to do something they’re passionate about, and it gets you to those big goals, it’s a win-win, they’re excited, they’re going to work hard, they’re going to be productive. You’re not going to have to micromanage them, because they want to be doing it and you achieve your goals.

Now, if they want to be doing work, that does not align with your business goals, does not align with your team’s goals, that’s another conversation. We need to have a discussion about how to manage somebody who doesn’t want to be doing the work that you need from them, but hopefully, you’ve hired people who are excited to do the kind of work you need. You might realize that you can move people around and that one person is doing work, that they don’t love.

Actually, another conversation I’ve had with a client and this week has been about realizing a team member… So she’s been brought in to do some change management in a team that wasn’t functioning very well, and they’ve actually had to let go of a couple of members of staff and she was speaking to one of the team members and she was really worried this person didn’t want to be there because they were just moved into this team without any consultation… Turns out, they are super excited to be there, they have all these ideas and they have a vision for what should be being done, but nobody thought to ask the person. So luckily they moved the right way, but somebody else in the team really doesn’t want to be there and could be moved back to where that other team member came from, to fulfill the role that’s now whole.

And so you may well find, you can move people about to make them better align with their desires, their areas for exciting growth, their growth opportunity, something that they see as something they want to develop. If you can do that alongside the quarterly planning, that is so powerful for productivity and buy-in.

So as you’re gathering this feedback, I want you to sit down with your direct reports and spend time reviewing all of this. They should have done this with their team, then you all get in a room. I like to do this as a retreat, COVID makes that a bit more tricky. I’m all about social distancing. I do genuinely believe that as the Northern hemisphere enters the winter, at least the fall or the autumn, depending on where you are, that we should be being very careful. So I totally advocate doing this online this year, but in previous years doing a retreat away, so you can get away from the noise of the office, you can get away from their normal environment if they work from home, perhaps if everybody worked remote, normally this would be the one time of the year or the one time of the quarter where you bring them together.

That’s a really cool thing to do. You can tie it up with some fun team-building stuff. We can have a conversation about fun team-building stuff and what isn’t fun another day. I have some very strong opinions about that. But you want to spend time reviewing this with all your direct reports. Look for areas to drop, look for areas to improve, look for areas to keep. What can you do better? How can you be doing more with less? Work with each team lead on what their contribution will be, what their team will be contributing and their area goals. Ideally, what happens, especially for the annual goal setting, is you have a huge number of people come together. You and your direct team have a session, they go back to their teams have a session and do the same exercise and then come back together again.

That’s when you’ve got quite a big grouping. For me, I just need to do it with my direct reports, I have a small business it’s very easy. And then once the teams have done their level of plan, you want to regroup and finalize that top level plan. So there’s a whole cyclical process here. I love cyclical processes. You want to review the annual goals. You want to gather feedback, spend time reviewing at that top level then the team members go back to their teams, determine their plans, and then you come back and finalize that top level plan.

Then you need to communicate to the higher ups if you haven’t already done that. So if you were in the C-suite, that might be to the C-suite, ideally this would be a C-suite activity in its own right, but if you’ve just done this with your direct reports, you would communicate to your fellow C-suite and your CEO what the plan is. Or if you grow a team, you might set a precedent and this is a cool thing to do… Share that high level plan.

If you’re the CEO, you might need to be doing this with your investors. You need to sanitize your plan at that point, but you might be doing this with your board or your investors, and you want to share this high level plan with everyone involved. So it isn’t just the written plan and involved everybody in it, you then need to disseminate this is what we’ve all agreed. They’re going to be more interested in reading it because they were involved in communicating it.

Then the final step that’s quite often forgotten is you need to be working every single day with your direct reports on encouraging them to regularly discuss the goals with their team. One of the big mistakes I see so many managers making is, they say their goal, done dusted, don’t mention it again and then they wonder why nobody’s working on it. Whatever your number one priority is, you need to be reminding people of that at least weekly, ideally daily. If you have daily scrums… I don’t like scrums as a thing, huddles are better. Whatever you want to call it, stand-ups, whatever it is in the day of COVID, you need to be reminding everybody in those regular meetings, all of those number one priorities.

You need to make sure that they’re taking action every single day. It isn’t enough to just say, here’s the plan, go execute. Your job is to make sure it’s executed, and ideally your team would just do it, but we’re human, we get distracted, other things land at our desk, urgent emails come in, things go wrong, super computers go down… That was one of the things that used to happen in my old job.

Our priorities would get derailed by hardware failures and I’m not a hardware person and yet, my priorities would be derailed by hardware failures. But we needed to be reminded of what our number one priority was. Yes, we had to fix the hardware failures that derailed the entire team because we quite often had to do software upgrades as part of that, but we always had to remember what our number one priority was at the end of the day. So make sure that you build knowledge, trust and buy-in by involving them in this process and then bringing them back to it regularly, reminding them of what’s important, what they need to do to fulfill those big audacious goals, and how they fit into the bigger picture of the organization.

If your team doesn’t understand the plan, your planning didn’t work. They need to know why. They need to believe in the process. They need to believe in the vision. They need to believe that they’re part of this. If they don’t, your planning failed.

So let’s just do a quick recap there of what the planning process end is. First of all, every quarter, sit down with your direct reports, review the annual goals and have a look at what needs to be done in the next quarter to achieve those annual goals. Revisit the annual goals if they’re no longer valid.

Secondly, get your team to gather feedback from their direct reports on what’s gone well in the last quarter, what’s changed, what the opportunities are, how they can do more with less and their exciting ideas.

Number three. Spend time reviewing all of this with your direct reports as a team and looking for areas to drop, looking for areas to improve and looking for areas to keep, remember your goal is to do more with less.

Number four. Use the review coupled with your goals to map out major goals for the next quarter.

Number five. Work with each team lead on what their contribution will be from their team and their area goals.

Number six. Get your team to go back to their direct reports and determine a plan for that team.

Number seven. Regroup and finalize that top level plan.

Number eight. Communicate it to higher ups if you haven’t already done so.

Number nine. Share the high level plan with everyone involved regularly, at least weekly. That’s it. I told you this wasn’t complicated and yet, so few people do it. Now, if you’re like, how do I go from big audacious goals and down to a daily plan? I just want to recap that too. I have talked about this a lot on my Facebook Lives. I even did the planning challenge a year ago with this, but it’s a very simple process.

We start with the philosophy of what is the one thing I want to do. I want you to have that in mind at all times, then we simply go down and we break down something from something big to something small.

So we start with number one, what is my big audacious one day goal? This could be for your business or it could be personal. I have a business goal and I have a personal goal. I have both. They tend to be a lot more aligned now. My business and my personal goals are very, very much aligned. I want to personally assist 2000 women into senior leadership in tech by 2024. That’s my big audacious goal. It is my personal goal as well as my business school, because it is what lights me up, it’s why I do what I do. I don’t have any other personal goals, really. I’m happily married. I own a nice house and my husband… So those ones are not that important to me, so choose a big audacious goal for you or for your work, which ever one you want to go with.

I definitely, before I started my own business, I had one for work and I had one for personal stuff and I was working both. With my clients, I definitely get them to choose big audacious goals when they first start working with me that we can work towards. So that’s your one day goal. What is the number one thing that you want to achieve that you’re now planning for?

Number two, what do you need to do in the next five years to achieve that big audacious goal? So this might not be relevant. My big audacious goal is by 2024… I set that in 2019, so it was a five-year goal. I don’t know what my big audacious goals going to be after that, I have a few ideas and next year I may well choose a different audacious goal, but it’s probably going to be aligned with that five-year goal that I’m now one year into.

Number three. What is the one thing I need to do in the next year to achieve my five-year goal? What is the one thing I need to do in the next 12 months to achieve that goal? One thing. I can not say that enough. I feel like I need to put this on a loop for you. One thing, right? When we get really clear and specific… And it can be a huge thing, you’ve got whole 12 minutes do this, but you want to know what is the one thing you need to do. Now, you might do it quicker, that’s awesome. But let’s figure out something you can do in about a year to achieve that five-year goal. You’re then going to do the same thing for six months, or actually, I prefer to go from one year to 90 days.

So quarterly, what is the one thing I need to do in the next 90 days to achieve that one year goal then down to one month, what is the one thing I need to do in the next month to achieve my 90 day goal? One week. Daily. I literally plan a daily. It’s the thing I do at the end of the day. I used to do it first thing in the morning, I realized that I sleep better at night if I’ve planned my next day, I feel like everything’s taken care of and I always make sure that the number one thing I do the next day is something that’s going to get me to my big audacious goal. Going through that process of big audacious five years, one year, quarterly, one month, one week, daily.

So I have my one week plan that I look out and I say, “What do I need to do tomorrow to achieve my one week goal?” It’s really that simple. It’s nothing more technical than that, and when you do that, you really make sure that you take action every single day. You’re reminding yourself every single day. If you’re doing this with your team, you’re reminding your team every single day. This is the one thing we need to do today. Yes, the world might end, our supercomputer might fall over… Can you tell that’s the world I came from… Node failures, whatever it is, other things might happen, but we’re going to make progress.

When you don’t do this, you get to an end of the month and think, I’ve done nothing towards our big goals. You get to the end of the quarter and think gosh, I haven’t done any progress on the goals. Get to the end of the year and realize, no progress. And you get so distracted and this isn’t healthy. It’s not healthy for your business, it’s not healthy for your goals and it’s not healthy for our mindsets. We like to feel that we are achieving things.

So by setting goals… But goals that one, are realistic, but two have a plan, even if you’re not a natural planner. These plans can be very wobbly, they don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be detailed… If you love a very detailed plan, go ahead do it… Love you for that. But if you’re like, “Nah, I just don’t really like planning.” I still want you to do very simple planning, bare bones planning to make sure that you’re aligned with what’s important to you, because then you’ll wake up realizing you’re making progress.

When we don’t make progress, we don’t feel great. I want you to feel great. I want you to ditch your self-doubt, and there is one great way to ditch self-doubt, which is to take action and have evidence that your action is achieving something.

What better way to have evidence and to say, I achieved my goal? I achieved my goal for today. I achieved my goal for the week. I achieved my goal for the month. I achieved my goal for the quarter. I achieved my goal for the year. Hey, I’ve achieved my big audacious goal that when I set it five years ago, I thought it was impossible. That really helps us ditch the self-doubt.

So yes, this may not seem like an obvious leadership tactic, but I can promise you that when you start planning not only is your productivity going to go up because you are going to feel aligned with what you’re trying to achieve, but your team will be more bought-in and will be taking action that’s aligned with what you need them to do.

But let’s finish up with a leadership mindset moment. If you are new around here, what is a leadership mindset moment I hear you ask? Well, it’s an actual tip to help adjust how you act or think to make it easier to uplevel your leadership based on the topic of today’s podcast. So today’s is a listing one again. I do feel like a lot of the leadership mindset moments are thinking and listening, but it’s kind of mindset I suppose.

Here’s what I really want you to do. I want you to take a moment to really listen to the goals and aspirations of all of your team. Getting to know what lights them up, not just what they’re saying, but what makes them sparkle, what’s making them grin, what’s making them talk really fast. I want you to find out what really lights them up. When you give your team space and they really trust you and they can bring their whole selves to the table, you will identify things about them that you didn’t know. You’ll be able to see things that they’re excited to do and if you want to build honesty, retention, productivity, buy-in, all the great things in your team, there is nothing better than understanding what lights them up and figuring out how to give them more of that.

Now, that doesn’t mean pivoting for everyone. It doesn’t mean changing all the goals every week so that it aligns with what lights everybody up and it doesn’t mean getting rid of whole parts of your business because nobody wants to do that. That’s not what I’m talking about, but it is about knowing how their excitements, how their little actions can be leveraged for the big exciting goals of the business. And your mindset moment is really about being creative around that, it is listening and giving everyone the chance to be really heard and then getting creative.

There is no simple one-solution to any goal setting. The best goal setting is creative and allows you to make the best of the resources at hand. Your number one resource is your team. That’s it, a nice simple one, but definitely requires a little thought and space to allow you to be creative. Remember, this kind of work isn’t kind of thing you can do in 15 minutes on a Friday afternoon, you have to set aside time for it. The best mindset work does the best creative work, really requires brain space.

That’s all for today’s episode. If you love this, do go check out the show over at tonicollis.com/episode15 or go and have a look at them in your favorite podcast player. All the links I’ve mentioned will be in the share notes and if you love this, do of course share today’s podcast episode with anyone you think would enjoy a listen and leave a review for your chance to win a coaching session with yours truly.

And finally, don’t forget that I have just two spots on my wait list for my coaching program right now, if you want to get one-to-one coaching with me, accelerate your career, get ahead and achieve a job where you are truly lit up every single day, ditch the self doubt and you are in control of your future then I would love to hear from you.

Head to tonicollis.com/workwithtoni to find out more. Until next time, remember amazing leading women in tech, stay on your tech leadership game, follow your dreams because the world really does need that uniqueness that you bring as a leading woman in tech.


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