SOP's for Leadership Action

action consistency growth intentional john leadership maxwell performance process sops Aug 09, 2020

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on July 16, 2020.

OK, action can truly cure a lot of what ails us… And the action we take in a leadership role has to be very different than the action we would take if everything depended on us alone. But as we discussed in the last blog, that ship sailed when we accepted the responsibility to lead!

Now with that in mind, here’s something to consider: Have you ever seen someone take massive action for a short period of time then completely fall off the map for the weeks or months that follow? There’s another one of those rhetorical questions…

I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve all seen that happen at one time or another. It’s especially easy to see if you have a gym membership; just open your eyes during the first few weeks every January!

As easy as this is to picture with the New Year’s Resolutioners, this happens just as often in just about every other area we can imagine. How many books do people buy, start reading, and see through to the end? How many kids jump straight to a four year university immediately after high school with no clear picture of what they want to do over the weekend, let alone for the rest of their lives, just to fade away a few years in with a mountain of debt and no degree to show for it? I could go on and on…

The military has a way of ensuring critical tasks are seen through to completion; nearly any activity you can imagine has something called a Standard Operating Procedure. The United States Army defines this as “a clearly written set of instructions for methods detailing the procedures for carrying out a routine or recurring task or study.” When I had responsibility for implementing Lean Manufacturing principles, we worked to develop a “standardized worksheet” for every single job on an assembly line to help ensure that a new employee could be trained appropriately, but also to maintain consistent results in each step of the production process. Neither of these systems are in place to say there’s only one way to perform a task, but they are in fact explaining the best proven way to perform the task and that the expectation is that each individual follow those steps until a better way is approved.

If having a defined process is that critical in the military and in the manufacturing environment, wouldn’t it stand to reason that having something similar in place to help sustain our individual action may possibly be something to consider?

In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell defines two laws, The Law of Consistency and The Law of Design, that provide us with a foundation for applying this on an individual level. The Law of Consistency tells us that “motivation gets us going – discipline keeps us growing” and The Law of Design suggests that “to maximize growth, develop strategies.”

A while back, I shared a lesson in our Leading At The Next Level program called Growing with Style. That lesson was focused on developing intentional strategies, and processes to sustain them, based on our own individual behavioral style so that each action we take toward ongoing growth would help to recharge us rather than being a task that sucks the energy out of us. I don’t believe it should be any different for any other type of action we take either! If we really want to get the results we desire, and we develop the discipline to take the proper kind of action for the situation we’re (like we discussed in the last message), building a process to ensure consistency can make a tremendous impact!

We’ll take a look at what we need to do when we fall down along the way – and each of us are going to stumble somewhere along the line…