There’s room for fun and productivity in the summer, Clearly defined goals and ongoing assessments encourage success, Every good plan starts with a good leader

darren-nolander-summerJune, July and August tend to mean fun in the sun, right? That actually wasn’t a trick question – they do! However, that fun should co-exist with productivity. When that happens, our time outdoors is so much more meaningful, relaxing and stress-free. S. Chris Edmonds knows this all too well. He believes a workplace centered around purpose, strategy, values and goals will ensure a cool summer for all.

Edmonds wrote the book The Culture Engine, in which he explores how we can use this time of year to actually ramp up our team. He believes this happens when our leaders tap into the sources that drive human behavior, allowing the group to form a cultural cohesion of sorts as they work toward a common goal.

Before summer gets too far away from you, take some time to follow the actionable plan below. Your team (and yourself!) will thank you when that inevitable holiday slump starts to creep up on our industry.

  • Define

Identify and codify your short- and longer-term goals. From this starting point, you can dig deeper, branching off into what these goals entail, what values your team must share, what behaviors your team must value and the overall purpose you’re inching toward.

  • Align

Those shared values and valued behaviors aren’t just for your team’s benefit. They have to be internalized, practiced and modeled by you. Your communication, interactions, body language, use of time, etc., should embody what you laid out for your team. In other words, walk the walk. Think your team should have to turn in a progress report every Friday, yet you regularly reschedule commitments you find tedious? Not anymore. You can only inspire a team to be positive, purposeful and productive if their fearless leader models the same. You set the bar for what is and is not acceptable behavior.

  • Refine

Speaking of reports, you must monitor progress. Ongoing assessments are crucial to achieving minute milestones that lead to bigger and bigger accomplishments. They also place a microscope over what isn’t working. Frequent assessments allow you to pivot before your team is too far down the path to self-correct. Don’t forget to recognize success, even the smaller ones, to ensure your team knows when it’s doing a good job and where there’s room for improvement.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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