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  • Teresa Carey

Results-Focused Leadership – It’s Not an Accident

Updated: Apr 25

One of my best friends is a health and nutrition coach. During a recent meetup, her partner commented on a personal target she had just reached in building muscle mass. Her response was fitting. “This,” she quipped, pointing to her 61-year-young bicep, “is not an accident.” She was humorously acknowledging the dedication and daily habits that went into her result. Yet truer words were never spoken.

“This… is not an accident.” In reflecting on this simple example, few things are accidental, especially when it comes to attaining personal or professional results.  

As leaders, we want excellence from ourselves and those around us. Leveraging coaching is one of many steps taken to accomplish new levels of greatness. The drive in the leaders I work with is undeniable. Most are involved not only in coaching, but in deep work,

accountability groups, as well as other daily or weekly rituals that bring out their best.

McKinsey research found four differentiators that matter most in developing leadership. Two of these - results-orientation and supporting others - clearly show the connection between nurturing leadership while championing the desired results for the organization. 

Acknowledging that the road to performance excellence needed to attain results is not an accident, how can you be more intentional in cascading your own development practices so others can benefit? The following three basic methods may be overlooked or skipped while racing to the next organizational milestone.

  • Define the scope and goals of the role based on the organization’s missions and goals. Without these, there’s no standard for performance. Don’t assume the person’s experience in the industry or the function will translate into their awareness of what constitutes success in your mind. Deliberately define what success looks like for three, six, nine and twelve-month increments. If this sounds basic, surprisingly it’s often missed, especially while sprinting hard during growth uptick concurrent with filling a needed gap.

  • Foster a culture of life-long learning and investment in personal development. If your firm’s values don’t call out excellence or improvement, and the cadence in the culture doesn’t allow for focused development work, it’s unlikely team members will hit the expected or desired strides. Today’s “work hard/work hard” environment (in the 1990s referred to as “work hard/play hard”- we’ve left the “play” part behind), leaves little needed time for proactive growth practices. Demonstrate and require regularly scheduled time for personal development.

  • Create space for regular meetings with your team members. If you’re meeting once a week, then allocate one meeting per month to a development check-in against quarterly or annual goals. If you’re meeting bi-weekly, and the associate is more self-generating and mature in their role, then a deeper development dive can happen on a bi-monthly basis. Consistency in coaching around goals delivers consistent performance.

According to McKinsey, over 90 percent of CEOs are planning to increase investment in leadership development because they see it as the single most important human-capital issue their organizations face. This makes sense, given that coaching and other development methods generate a 529 percent ROI, based on Metrix Global’s research.

As leaders, lasering in on performance and the related results can’t be accidental.


What’s the one step you’ll take this quarter to ensure a more purposeful talent investment in your team?   

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