Without the right pace an organization is destined to die on the vine. Missed opportunities, chasing competitors and always in reactive mode are signs that an organization needs to pick up the pace. Quality problems, morale issues, turnover and unfinished projects are signs that the pace is too quick for the resources and structure.
Accomplished leaders can set a pace that is optimal for their organization. Improved results will follow when the leader ensures the organization can maintain that pace without constantly looking to the leader.
In Daniel Goleman’s book Primal Leadership, he outlines 6 leadership styles, one of which is Pacesetting. This is a lead by example style where the leader sets and maintains a fast pace and high standards that drives the organization to exceed at a high level. Pacesetting is typically not sustainable and should be used sparingly, like when a significant change to pace is required.
Ideally the leader sets the pace, but the organization maintains the pace within its culture – it’s the way we do things around here. Pace is something that does require leadership by example to allow others to see the required pace in action. Leaders should be fast paced, but not stressed and should not ask more of their team than they do of themselves. Some practical actions leaders can take to set the pace and improve results include:
1. Be proactive.
· Jump on opportunities and address issues before they get out of hand.
· Reward and celebrate proactive actions.
2. Commit to deadlines related to external events – these are harder to break.
3. Reduce the time between meetings. Set your meeting pace with intention rather than default to weekly, bi-weekly etc.
· Run smart meetings: Only when required, and with clear objectives that support progress.
4. Focus on the most important challenges to keep them moving forward.
5. Create a structure that allows things to get done, rather than impede them.
· Eliminate friction points, especially if the friction is caused by you.
Treat time as a precious resource and use it as a tool to make sure the most important items get done before the least important ones.