As leaders, we know that consistency is important. There are tasks we need to do each day, each week, each month, each quarter, or each year on a continuous basis to achieve ongoing team responsibilities as well as develop our own skills and experience. When we have a project, we need to work toward the objective a bit each day. No great feat is accomplished in a day; transformation takes dedicated, consistent work toward a vision. You can see millions of examples to validate this truth. However, sometimes consistency feels heavy or we notice team members not following through on tasks toward the team responsibilities and objectives. Have you ever found it difficult to come to work and continue to do certain tasks with consistency or consistently work toward a project goal? Have you found it difficult to get your team members engaged and enthusiastic about their consistent tasks and work toward team objectives? Whether it’s certain ongoing tasks or just consistently showing up to work each day, there are a few reasons I have found as to why you may find yourself and your team having trouble with consistency. There are some simple things you can do get off the hamster wheel and make consistent work an exciting part of your team’s journey!
1: Make the Vision and Big-Picture Objectives Clear
At work, sometimes we feel like we come in day-to-day and do the same thing, over and over. We don’t know or we forget what we’re even working toward with all of this hard work. Why are we doing this? Why are we working so hard? We default to reasons like making money. If this has happened to you, it’s probably happening to other people on your team too. It’s important to be aware and make your team aware of the mission and vision for the team before tasks toward the vision are given. You may assume people know why they’re being asked to do what they do, but in many cases, they don’t! You may think they don’t care about the ultimate business objective of the work but the reality is that they do.
In the first section of Awake Leadership, you work on developing the mission and vision for your team that is clear, aligned, and achievable. When everyone is on the same page in terms of the overall mission, understands big-picture objectives ahead of time, and each person knows the expectations, team members are motivated to work toward the objectives because they can return to the why, the intention, for doing the tasks each day. If you, as a leader, are not clear on the vision or if you are a team member not clear about the vision of your work, speak up and ask! You can also observe and reflect individually, through writing, about what the big picture intentions and objectives of the team are. However, it’s best to discuss and align as a team too. Begin working through section one of Awake Leadership with your team.
2: Gather for Team-Wide Progress Updates and Give Feedback
The great part about having a team is that you can delegate the work and work toward larger, transformational objectives together. As you work toward team objectives, you personally develop new skills and experience. If you set the team Vision, everyone often goes off on his or her own and start doing their individual tasks. Many times we get lost in redundantly doing tasks and lose motivation because we don’t know where we are, as a team, in terms of achieving the vision and objectives given. If we’re climbing to the top of a mountain, it’s nice to always look where we are relative to the top. It’s easier to know on an individual level if you’re making progress toward your tasks. However, since many larger, more meaningful objectives are collective and take a team to accomplish, it’s important to have regular check ins with the whole team to given status updates on important objectives and improvement initiatives. Acknowledge each person’s work toward the overall goal, give feedback on where the bottlenecks are if you’re behind, and keep the momentum going. Collaboration and communication is key! When we know our consistent hard work is leading toward a larger transformation we believe in, it is exciting and empowering.
In one-on-one meetings with your team, also give feedback on how their consistent work and improvement is deepening their experience, development, and realistic future opportunities. When we know that our hard work is improving our skills and deepening our experience, we feel we’re progressing personally as well and it’s great to hear that feedback from a leader. In Awake Leadership, I suggest multiple ongoing, consistent team practices for checking in on the progress of objectives as a team and one-on-one.
3: Create Conditions for Focus and Productivity
Even if the team understands the mission and vision you’re working toward but the members are not grounded and supported in their own life, it’s difficult to focus, consistently work toward objectives, and efficiently execute tasks. Without being too nosy, always ask your team members at one-on-one meetings if you can do anything to support them more in general. Create a culture of transparency and open communication. If you do this in a selfless way, people will not take advantage. You should also lead by example and support yourself so you can feel aligned and focused when you come into work! Take the time you need to align your own life so you can come in with energy and focus. In Awake Leadership, the two sections following the Vision section contain exercises for developing personal Support and team Structure so the team can work toward the vision with more focus and ease day-to-day.
4: Obtain Optimal Tools and Resources
Another reason people have difficulty with consistency is because they do not have the right tools or resources to accomplish the task. As a leader or team member, you should constantly ask yourself if you have the optimal tools for your team. Sometimes people are set up for failure with the wrong tools or they don’t understand how to use the tools they have. They will dread doing the tasks, procrastinate and finish them late, or incorrectly execute them. Many tools are complex or highly manual and this can make way for eyes tests on the computer, multi-step tasks that leave room for error, and difficult user interfaces. Many times sub-optimal tools are a reality until budget is available or a new tools is discovered. However, always work toward optimizing your team’s tool belt. If people are not adequately trained on the tools you have, get them training. See section four of Awake Leadership for suggested exercises and insights about tools optimization and training.
5: Offer New Inspiration and Opportunities for Creative Collaboration
A final important reason that people tend to zone out or fall off the boat is that the team culture lacks inspiration, newness, and enthusiasm. Even though consistency is important, consistency does NOT mean that you come into work everyday and only do the same thing over and over again. It can be hard to fall into this trap, especially when things are running smoothly and there isn’t too much change happening in the business. However, realistically, when is there a week without a need to respond to change or challenge? Bringing the team together to collaborate aside from regular work, contribute new ideas, find inspiration in reading or brainstorming, or offering experiences for personal development are great ways to cultivate a creative team culture. Brainstorming and doing inspiration exercises not only makes the team more engaged and enthusiastic, but also prepares the team for responding to change efficiently and creatively.
The final two sections of Awake Leadership contain many inspiration exercises and I prompt leaders to offer some newness into their own life and to the team. Bringing in new, fresh ideas is exciting and keeps the team engaged and interested. By doing inspiration exercises with your team, you create a culture of curiosity and development. You’ll see that curiosity and engagement result in more proactive work quality. Your team members may start to get more involved and interested in their work, suggest ways to improve the way you’re currently executing tasks, and provide new ideas.
Thanks for reading! I hope this helps you and your team to connect and keep up the good work this week.
Find all the exercises I referred to in my book, Awake Leadership: Here