Practice Principle #1: Begin with the Qoal

If you’ve ever coached your young child’s sports team, you understand the challenges of balancing the fun factor with actually teaching them skills to improve. With all that energy on the field or court, it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of rapid-fire drills or chaotic scrimmages just to keep things moving along. But, no matter the age group, each practice needs to have at least one goal to work toward. The goal is what you are trying to achieve during that practice. Goals can include faster footwork, better defense, improved fielding, and so on. Once the goals have been identified prior to the practice, the activities that build toward the goals can be chosen.

The same holds true for managers. When you look at each manager and the responsibilities they have, what goals will help them improve their key behaviors? In other words, what should they be trying to achieve when practicing that behavior? Is the goal to improve their understanding of a competitor’s strategic approach to the market? Is the goal developing medical-expert relationships to secure a greater number of clinical trials at a key academic hospital? Is the goal influencing without authority in order to align priorities across different functional areas in the organization? Determining the goal of the practice is step one.

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