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Mission Over Method

The global pandemic of SARS-CoV2, a novel Coronavirus causing the CoViD-19 disease, continues to storm the United States as various companies respond with innovation as well as rigid denial. Some CEOs like Waye Peacock at USAA, plan with the same philosophy of the United States Military: there are no Black Swans, only effective planning, enabling them to move 34,000 to a work-at-home status in 9 days. Others were forced to do the right thing after initially balking over their own failure to plan, being called out in the media, and then having to course correct. The difference? Wayne, and leaders like him, focus on mission as opposed to method.

Focus (The What)

As an Executive Coach working with CEOs, Business Owners, and Executive leaders, many initially ask, “when can we get back to normal?” However that’s hardly the focus at the moment; the ‘what’ of reality is the focus. What have clients/customers hired you to do in the past and what would they like you to help them with now? Core focus informs daily action and yields results. 

Clarity (The Why)

Your organization has a ‘why’, whether it has been memorialized and emblazoned in stone or simply known by each, it is a key driver in the clarity every team member needs to be their best. This clarity guides hiring, reward, promotion, and retention. Leadership coaching frequently uses the answer to ‘why’ to guide the assessment of the health of the company.

Urgency (The When)

The practice of Executive Coaching has given us a front-row seat to varying responses in multiple industries. But what has set some apart is their urgency to make active choices and firm decisions. At the same time, they are flexible enough to review and revise as they receive new information. That courage – to keep moving forward, rather than idly waiting to see what might happen – equates to momentum. Changing direction while in motion takes less time, energy and money than moving from a dead-stop.

Effectiveness (The Who)

Of course, no company is successful without a world-class team that is rowing in the same direction. Effectiveness is the result of getting the right people on the bus sitting in the right seats. It is also the result of strong leadership that has laid out a compelling Focus with Clarity set forth in Urgency drawing the Effectiveness of a powerful team.

Execution (The How)

Once we have the other elements in place, we can execute on our Mission. Advances in technology, expectations of the public, and current state of public health guide the ‘how’ of bringing our product or service to the marketplace. But that is not actually our product or service. For example, the observation, perspective, and sometimes counsel that I bring as an Executive Business Coach is the product – not whether that is in person, phone, video, writing, or another medium. 

Conclusion

In the introduction is a powerful, uncommon example of Leadership placing Mission over Method. This prioritization is vitally important to the healthy future of your business. Using the same examples from the introduction, for nearly 100 years USAA’s mission has been to serve the financial needs of military members; and they don’t get distracted with whether that is my phone, in person, by fax, or on-line. Rather, they simply- adjust as Member needs and technology have progressed. If there’s one thing that the pandemic is forcing us to confront, it is that our methods may no longer serve the Mission: working in cubicles, meeting in person, commuting long distances to an office. Successful businesses are relentlessly focused on their Mission – no matter the method – and will likely be the same businesses that first survive and later thrive post-pandemic.

Ken Kilday, CEO/founder of Leader’s Cut: The Ken Kilday Coaching Experience, is an Executive Business Coach and EOS Implementer®. He works with leaders in companies of all sizes to implement actions, evaluate success, and adjust to new, improved habits and actions to produce repeatable and predictable outcomes independent of changing business cycles. Ken is an entrepreneur who has designed, built, launched, and rejuvenated successful businesses. Contact Ken to schedule a 15 minute Meet & Greet and discover how coaching can best serve you and your business.