At Weekdone, we believe in the importance of evolving and constantly improving ourselves. We try and provide the most practical content possible, so you can use it to evolve and improve the way you work. That is why we interviewed Joanne Trotta, Founder and Managing Partner of Leaders Edge Inc to help us conduct a case study in SMART goal setting. Leaders Edge is a coaching and training service for all leaders interested in improving themselves and their companies.
Joanne has been a leader for a long time and she is well-experienced in both B2B and B2C services. We spoke about her experiences in running a team, setting the right goals, and getting the results you need. As she said: “Doing your homework before you set goals and objectives will go a long way in helping you and your people achieve them.”
What are the key aspects of a well-managed company?
From my perspective, having a vision and strategy for your organization is critically important. In addition to this, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your value proposition, offerings, target market, etc.
How do you achieve that?
The right leadership need to exist at all levels of an organization. You need to hire individuals and build teams with the right attitude, behavior, skills, and competencies.
A well-managed company has coaching embedded into their company culture. It creates an atmosphere of ongoing learning, development, and a desire to deliver positive results for the company.
The bottom line is that leaders need to hold themselves and others accountable for performance and results. If you take care of your people, they will take care of the business. It sounds simple but it is not always practiced consistently.
What sort of mistakes are common among new leaders?
The biggest mistake I see among new leaders is continuing to operate like they are still working as a specialist. Many people have a hard time making the transition from doer to leader. They tend to delegate less than they should and continue to act as they had in their old position. Some may also simply repeat the way they were being treated by their previous leader, which may not emulate the right leadership behaviors.
And what sort of mistakes do experienced leaders most often make?
More experienced leaders sometimes assume that the old way of doing things may be the right way. This can paralyze creativity and come across as commanding. This old school style of leadership has limited value in today’s workforce.
Is there any shared mistakes for all leaders?
A common challenge or mistake I see occurring across both new and experienced leaders is a lack of self-awareness. They operate on auto-pilot and may not always be exhibiting the right leadership competencies to create a culture of engagement and performance.
You have written about how to set goals and the SMART model. How do you set and measure long-term and short-term goal in your company?
I set my goals annually and reassess where we are at with our strategy and deliverables every quarter. My sales results and performance is tracked and assessed daily or sometimes weekly depending on the projects in progress.
What do you think the biggest issues leaders have with setting goals?
I often see leaders who fail to get to know their people. This leads to setting goals that cannot be achieved or are outside of the skill set of the individual. So, before you go about setting your goals, take some time to understand what your people are capable of and learn skill sets that you have at your disposal.
If your team doesn’t have the skills necessary to achieve the plan, then you have two options: recruit and hire people with the right skill set, or revisit and adjust your plan so that you can meet it based on the skill sets that you do have.
Doing your homework before you set goals and objectives will go a long way in helping you and your people achieve them. I recommend performing research on what similar organizations are doing. What are the industry averages? Where do you stand in relationship to your competitors? What is market research telling you?
You have also written about the “a sense of purpose” in the workplace. How would you sum up the importance of employee happiness?
As I mention in my blog, happiness happens in the present moment but meaning and purpose come from an ability to see oneself as part of a story. It is all about connecting with your people to offer them a healthy balance of happiness and a sense of purpose in the workplace.
We all have moments of happiness, but real engagement and performance stems from feeling emotionally connected and having clear direction in all aspects of our lives. As leaders, we have to understand what our people want and what they are striving to achieve. Only then can we create happiness and an overall sense of purpose in the workplace.
You have extensive experience with different products and services. Are there any differences in handling B2B companies and companies who sell to the consumer market?
Having worked in both channels has served as an advantage for me as I can better understand the challenges that my clients are experiencing.
The role that we play is quite agnostic and typically does not change the way we interact with our clients, regardless if they serve consumer clients or clients in the B2B space. We do however customize all our offerings to ensure it aligns with our client’s culture and desired outcomes.
Finally, something we make sure to ask everyone: what do you think the main challenges will be for running a company in 2025?
By 2025, millennials will represent 75% of the workforce and companies need to shift the way they are doing business now to be more inclusive vs. command control and start treating one another as people to drive performance and growth.
We need to shift our thinking to how we can lead and engage as a “collective” team to deliver results. Everyone, not only leaders need to possess that desire for out of the box thinking, ongoing learning, and collaboration to deliver results.
We also have to pay attention to technology. It will continue to evolve; social media will be even more prevalent and AI will play a significant role in business. Disruption is the new norm and by 2025 we will have experienced a massive amount of that from technology in the way we live our lives.
I am excited about what the future will look like and look forward to working with both existing companies as well as the new companies which will emerge out of all of these changes.
Thank you. We are also very excited.