FINDING DIRECTION: An organization can't succeed without direction. Direction means having clear goals and guidelines; set goals and guidelines for staff to follow. When staff direction is needed, you must provide effective procedures for everyone to follow. Have guidelines and goals firmly set to keep the gray areas to the absolute minimum. It's up to you, to keep the departmental goals and that sense of direction so that it is not allowed to be buried beneath the workload.
UNDERSTANDING AN ORGANIZATION'S DIRECTION: Successful leaders also understand the organization's direction, and act along those lines. As a leader, you will also have to maintain a healthy flexibility within the organization. For example, one day you may attend a departmental meeting where the message is, "Spend, spend, spend, new research is your major goal." The next month you may get a memo from the CEO that says, "cut 50% of your research budget in two weeks" .After having just re-directed your group, you must now adopt this new goal and create a lean and mean team that will strip excess expenditures to the quick. If you are a good leader, you are also an informed leader. You should work hard to be a helicopter; always moving around in various circles, hearing what's what so that very little will come as a surprise.
GUIDELINES TO SET DIRECTION: --Set goals and objectives for the organization. Ask, "What does the organization want to accomplish, when, and how?" --Break down goals by department. This gives each sector in the organization a clear picture of their goals. --Encourage staff to set annual goals and objectives. Next, have them break down their goals into monthly tasks, going as far as setting weekly goals. Work towards monthly or weekly goals isn't always feasible, but within time, it will get easier. Set goals is the first step to meeting them. --Organize procedures. Every task has a procedure. Write it down and include it in your procedures manual. Make sure every procedure has a clear set of steps and is accessible to staff. --Delegate. Give responsibility to those who earn it. Don't make every little decision yourself. Give staff responsibility with direction, and you give them greater confidence and competence.
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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.