Realize Your Intentions with Clearly Defined Goals

 

Successful intrapreneurs have these common characteristics:

  • They communicate their ideas and desires clearly, leaving little room for misunderstanding about what they want to achieve.
  • They engage others to help them reach objectives, because they communicate the benefits of what will come from accomplishing goals.
  • They are passionately attached to their ideas, yet open to considering alternative ways of reaching their goals.
  • They take full responsibility for decisions they make and the outcomes of those decisions.
  • They acknowledge the support of those who helped them fulfill their intentions.

Whether you’re the CEO of a global industry or the manager in a three-person department in an organization, you can garner success by clearly stating your intentions.

Be specific about your intentions. While it’s certainly noble to state, “We will become the best in the industry,” the declaration itself hardly explains how the company will reach such a lofty status. What’s more engaging is, “Our goal is to increase sales by 12% at the close of our fiscal year.” People can wrap their heads around concrete goals with defined endpoints.

Often times, I’ll come out of a strategic planning meeting, buzzed with enthusiasm about the exciting plans the company leaders have designed for the company’s direction. I give my team the high-level synopsis of the new company goals.

This gets team members keenly interested in fulfilling the leaders’ objectives from their own unique skill sets. Inevitably, the ensuing questions boil down to, “What are we supposed to do about it?” That’s when I draw up specific assignments and timelines for each team member to complete. I remain open to ideas for process improvement. I let my team know that I accept responsibility for their actions, as long as we’re all in agreement about the way things should be done.

Reinforce your intentions with frequent communication. Without belaboring a project’s goal or desired outcome, it’s important to consistently reinforce intentions with periodic meetings or messaging tools. This helps to keep everyone on track. Clearly communicate what you’re all working to achieve.
Transparency and democracy are critical to ensure that your supporters are working on the same page.

Take full advantage of online communications tools, including email, IM, the intranet, Web-based meeting programs, and enterprise social networking platforms (especially with virtual teams) to bullhorn your intentions, project status, milestones, and successes.

Don’t discount face-to-face meetings. Studies still show that while online tools distribute information more effectively, more people consume and act on information more effectively if presented in live meetings.

Invite team members to report on their progress. Should any glitches or setbacks pop up along the way, address them openly and candidly. If necessary, get support from others who can steer you back on track.

Recognize others’ contribution to your success. A simple verbal pat on the back goes a long way to keep team members engaged in fulfilling your intentions. Again, it’s important to be specific in stating your gratitude or acknowledging someone’s efforts.

“Jim’s an invaluable member of our team,” is a nice thing to say. However, it’s more compelling to Jim and other team members to say or write, “Jim did a great job developing the FAQ content for our Web site. Customer comments show that it saves them navigation time.” Relay the task that Jim accomplished, how he did it, and the benefits that came from it. How motivated will Jim be to jump into the next assignment? Let him shine! I can tell you that that you’ll shine as well.

When possible, share your team’s successes with senior leaders. Be genuine, sincere, and specific.
Everyone deserves recognition for good work that supports strategic goals.

Karen Meek is a senior communications strategist, based in the Boston Metro area. Follow her @karenmeektweets.