How To Build A Roadmap for Success

Roadmaps are great. They can help us to implement long and difficult strategies to the ground level operations, make our team’s goals more achievable, and also are a fun way to get to know yourself. I personally recommend doing a roadmap for any goal that feels even a bit challenging to reach. It can be done for yourself, for your team, or why not even for the family?

How a roadmap should look like?

Don’t worry that much about the form or look of the roadmap. Most of all it is a way to communicate what to do and when. For sure it can be a piece of visually stunning art, but a list written in a napkin can also do the job. In short, the best roadmap is the one you are able to carry either in your mind or in your pocket.

The article will continue after the image.

How to fill the roadmap?

  1. First make sure that you know where we are now. Which are your strengths, aspirations and ambitions?
  2. Get a clear vision of your goal. Where do you want to go? Why do you want to go there? What happens when you get there? How does it feel when you reach your destination? Images can help you visualize your goal. Let’s say you want to get a raise in order to buy a new car. So google the image and use it to get a good grip of what you are working for.
  3. What skills, elements, investments you need to make to get started. These are most likely the first steps on your trip.
  4. Now you have done the beginning and the end. Draw a path between them and start building the steps one by one.
  5. For some people it can be a tremendous help if you think about it as playing a board game and building the path from a to b, c to d and so on.
    The article will continue after the image.
  6. Prefer using as concrete tasks as possible.
  7. Avoid placing goals that are not achievable. It is important to have big plans, but it is as important to know your limits in order to not get too badly hurt. Being successful is a delicate mix of being ambitious as well as rational and realistic.
  8. Remember to update your roadmap as you are working your way on it. Sometimes in life things happen overnight, and sometimes there can be obstacles that require you to take a detour.
  9. Also remember to reward yourself when reaching mid-goals and goals. That will help you to reach your goals better in the future. Find out how the positive reinforcement works – even for yourself. 😉
  10. Make sure you make your goals and roadmaps public, it will increase the possibility of completing them. At least if you want your organization to know where they should be heading to. But you can also consider communicating your own growth plan, as by doing so you might find friends who share the same goal, and you can help each other. Good leaders also want to help their employees to grow, so it can be that by sharing your roadmap, you are able to help your boss to do their job better.

Here is the example I made for the 2017

It is good to know, that as this is an upper level roadmap, each box will require its own roadmap. But alas; this will help me to remember the big picture I am building for the 2017, and I wish that it would help you to build your own roadmap to be an ever better leader!

 

 

Share

Protip: The Secret of Success

The secret of success is to create a tribe that unifies people against a shared enemy. This is how marketing, propaganda, religion and populism work. Given this power, use it wisely!

#marketing #everbetterleadership #leadership #enemy #propaganda #religion #politics

Share

CREDIT – How to make the change

It is almost always possible to do the change for the better. A change is a process like any other transformation.

You can start by asking: “What is the most important thing we/I need to do to perform better?”

In order to make the change, be it personal or organizational, I have simplified the process to the abbreviation “CREDIT” – which as a word means:

“praise, approval, or honour” – Cambridge’s dictionary

Besides of the many other meanings the word holds, these verbs perfectly describe the essence of the change. So let’s see what the C.R.E.D.I.T. is made of!

The article continues after the image.

The Six Elements of Making a Change

1. Communicate…

…the goal, the direction, why the change is needed and what is the one thing that needs to be reached. Make it simple – find the core of the idea and explain why this is the most important task.

It is crucial for the change to succeed so that people understand WHY and HOW the change is done.

2. Respect

People go the extra mile only if they respect you or they fear you. Respect is generated by respecting. Choose your side.

3. Educate

It is the leader whose duty is to coach and motivate employees. Sometimes this requires extra attention, and always good communication: what is expected and why. Just make sure that the person who is being educated is motivated to learn. If in doubt, please check my earlier post http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/01/14/how-to-keep-people-happy-and-motivated/

4. Discuss

It is always smart to let people participate as much as possible. That is done the best by discussing one to one. In those discussions it is better to listen more than to speak. That is the reason why we have two ears and one mouth. Well not really, but still a nice proverb. 🙂

But don’t try to roll the final responsibility on other people’s shoulders – as a leader you are in charge and also the one who ultimately needs to be able to do the decisions. Even hard ones.

5. Inspire

People love the change if it feels good and is beneficial to them. Inspiration can be more motivational I.e. getting praised by a manager or a monetary incentive I.e. giving a bonus for a good work. Very often the best plan is a combination of many ways.

6. Track

Make sure you know and remember your own goal. And keep steering the ship accordingly. If it looks like nothing is happening amplify the CREDIT process: communicate more, keep respecting, educate those who need and seek guidance, discuss until there is nothing more to discuss and make sure people get rewarded fairly for a good work.

I hope that this simple roadmap helps you to make the change for the better. Also please feel free to comment this post in the comment section below or in the social media. I would love to hear your thoughts. :3

Share

To Excel Now And In The Future

In my opinion

If we are truly interested in the organizational growth and excellence, it is crucial to tap into collective wisdom and to the brainpower of many. Modern leadership is not about forcing people to execute one’s vision. The more there are brains working to solve problem, the more likely it is that the best solution is found in a shorter time. This is pretty simple math.

It is also good to note that by committing employees to the company – by letting them co-create the vision – the leader is not deemed to take all of the pressure of the progress by him- or herself.

To excel now and in the future

  1. The organization must get better in the things it is good at
  2. The organization must be willing to try learning, creating, and innovating something new that has demand I.e. someone is willing to pay for.
“Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”
Steve Jobs

What if the organization focuses just on the another one?

If the organization focuses on just getting better in where it is good at, there will be a time when our product/service will be obsolete. Think for a second about Kodak, Blockbuster, Reader’s Digest…

“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
Bill Gates

If the organization uses too much time just on innovating and never releases a product or service, there is a risk that someone will go out and steal the business opportunity. It is also possible that in reality there is no market available or the world just is not ready yet for the product/service. The latter two scenarios usually happen only if the strategic market research has been done poorly.

Timing

“Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.”
Hesiod

It is absolutely crucial to understand that the timing is the most important factor in business and growth: because customer demand is the key factor. Even if we had the perfect team with the perfect idea, business-model, and execution, there is no value without demand.

The role of an ever better leader

  1. The great modern leader is a servant of employees,
  2. who creates an atmosphere of trust and fellowship,
  3. where passionate people are able to reach their potential,
  4. with proper incentives to make miracles happen
  5. while making sure that the company is profitable.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Henry Ford

* : Co-creating the vision can get awesome results, but only if the organization is a high performing one. If people are not passionate and fully committed, the leader’s vision is crucial for the organization to survive. In an organization that is reactive and lacks motivation, the leader should first uproot possible organizational primal fears and increase motivation and happiness as I have written earlier. Then it is time to communicate the personal vision until the organization is ready to be co-creative.

This posting was inspired by my experiences and by the following TED Talks:

And as a curious reader bonus here is a checklist you can share, print and check all that apply:

Share

The biggest problem in communication?

Last summer I had the privilege to receive honest feedback from my colleague who was about to leave to take on new challenges. We chatted for a while and the most valuable feedback I had had in years was simply:

“Jukka, please communicate more about your vision and how you plan to execute it.”

I had sincerely thought that there was no need to communicate that much more. I even felt that I might had been slightly too eager in communicating my vision. But that simple feedback opened my eyes: I was wrong and people are not telepathic. And even if they were, everyone is focused on their own issues and tend to forget what is not crucial for them to do their job. On the other hand, I also realized that communication is never just about communication: you are always leading as well as building your brand as a leader.

Every move you make, every word you say – They’ll be watching you.

After the feedback I started to look ways and means to express my vision more. It is not always easy to find the best way to tell people what is expected and why, as it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, see: different target groups respond better to the different ways of communication.

A simple rule of thumb

I have been doing my best to utilize the following principle in communication:

For masses tell stories, for board of directors use data.

The idea behind this short rule is that most people are too lazy to dive deep into facts, but when you are passionate and want to make decisions that hold water, hard data and evidence is preferred.

The elements of a message

On an upper level the elements of message should consist of the following:

  1. Why? What is the reason we are doing things, why am I communicating – what is the big lesson behind it all. What I want people to know? This is the vision.
  2. What happens, how does it feel? The surface, the words to tell the story. Share something emotional, personal, factual and maybe surprise people with a twist or two. This is the mission. If you want more precise advice, don’t worry: I will also write more about storytelling mechanics later.
  3. Next? There should be a fairly simple and precise CTA (call to action) in the story on how to proceed. Don’t ever assume people will understand your subtext: good corporate or marketing communication rarely relies on sharp attention or wits.
building up a personal communication strategy

I also recommend to build up a personal communication strategy. For example, a simple communication strategy in short could be:

  1. At the first stage focus mostly on upper management and on your team. That is mostly because you might want to involve them in making of the vision.
  2. For upper management use more data, for the team emphasize the personal benefits and emotional factors.
  3. As the foundations have been done the next step is to increase transparency and make the vision more company-wide. Use approx. mix of 80% emotion and 20% of data in the end of messages/presentations/whatever are your means of communicating.
  4. If possible, start to express your vision publicly. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your own/corporate blog and maybe even YouTube are great medias to share your vision to the world. Remember that in mass communication emotion is usually the most effective way to make the vision fly. At least if you want to spread your message to as wide of an audience as possible.
  5. Be careful, nobody is not interested in your vision if it is not relevant to people. Relevance is the key in everything. So make sure your message contains something valuable. It could be a funny story, helpful article, mind blowing stunt or whatever cool thing you come up with. Only your imagination is the limit.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
– George Bernard Shaw
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY

For me the simple and short feedback from the ex-colleague had a massive impact. But in case of an emergency where you don’t have the luxury of getting honest and relevant feedback and help, please send me a message to jukka@jukkaniittymaa.com and let’s have a talk to see if I or my colleagues could help you to excel!

Also remember to subscribe to this blog to get regular tips and tricks to be an ever better leader:

Share