I just came from a great presentation in which Michael Kaufmann, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Segment of Cardinal Health, talked about what they have found to be the keys to success in developing women in their organization. I realized as I listened to him that the keys to success really translate to attaining goals that are tough to reach – any kind of goal.
Let me share the highlights:
- Start at the top. If you want to get something challenging done, get engagement at the top of the organization. You need them for both their influence and their ability to tap resources.
- Explain the business case. It doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” thing or if it makes “obvious” sense (to you). Build a business case for why accomplishing this goal benefits the organization and the people within that organization.
- Involve a cross section from the organization. Don’t just tap the people most directly effected, create teams and advisory groups that represent the full organization (the people who won’t like the idea are just as important as your advocates).
- Find your “truth tellers.” Build a small group of advisors who you know will provide truthful feedback, who have their fingers on the pulse of the organization and who understand your internal politics.
- Use outside resources. Borrow everything you can, don’t build what you don’t have to.
- Track data. Be committed to being accountable and determine what you’re going to track early on.
- Be prepared to get uncomfortable. Attaining a bold goal is about learning, taking on a new challenge, exploring something that may or may not work. Challenge the status quo, take risks and know it’s okay to be uncomfortable.
Today we all have to be reaching for the next thing to stay ahead in our businesses. I believe these guidelines are sound business advice.