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January 3, 2013

See the Big Picture, But Take Smaller Steps to Reach It

Managers keep their teams focused on the day-to-day work; leaders help their teams see the bigger picture and the contribution of daily activities to success. Here are some tools to help you lead your team to success:

Model past successes.
Ask your team to describe past successes and identify the steps they took to achieve them. This is called “modeling.” Identify specific behaviors that contributed to the outcome and decide how you can use these behaviors to create processes and systems. Modeling is a powerful tool to help you replicate an accomplishment.

Present goals as manageable steps.
Your team can be overwhelmed and intimidated when faced with large goals that must be met. Often, they question whether they have the resources, skills and ability to achieve the goal. Break major goals down into smaller steps that are less challenging. Show them how these smaller goals move them toward the larger goal. When the team focuses on the actions they need to take now, the larger goal seems doable.

Recognize milestones.
A milestone occurs when a major part of a large goal is accomplished. For example, a milestone occurs when the subject matter experts sign off the final draft of a policy manual. Recognize team members when they realize major milestones to keep enthusiasm and motivation high.

Keep the big picture in front of your team, but make it easy for them to see how they can achieve it.

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