How to move the organization forward

  • Published
  • By Col. Bradley Herremans
  • 341st Medical Group commander
The natural inertia or tendency of an organization is to move. That sounds extremely simple and quite obvious, so what does that have to do with management and leadership? Organizational movement will trend in the direction of leadership. If a clear organizational vision is communicated to all and accompanied by an easily understood mission with clear goals and objectives, than success or the ability to move in a positive direction, will gain legs. When this happens, it is a beautiful thing to see. 

Leadership, attitude and execution take over. You can find definitions and examples of leadership all over the textbook landscape. I'm talking about the very basic leadership attributes that reside in all of us. Each and every individual of the organization must be a leader in their own right. This is not an option. Each person in the group or on the team must accept personal responsibility for their own job. Until this happens, you will never reach your optimal goals. However, when this does take place, the team will reach and achieve success that far exceeds any of the individual imaginations. By accepting responsibility for your own job you eliminate blame from your vocabulary, a very powerful concept. Any individual or a group of individuals can "get by" for a period of time and maybe one individual skill might even achieve some success, but they will never reach the goal of becoming a "great organization." Eliminate blame and accept total responsibility. Do that and you are on your way. What a future you and your organization will have on the road ahead. 

Ok, I've taken total responsibility for my job and eliminated blame from my vocabulary. Am I now a success? Well, you're on your way. 

Next let's talk about a very powerful force multiplier. Your attitude. Attitude is a choice. Each and every day we have a choice how we will view and interact with the world around us. Come to work every day with the attitude you are here "to serve." 

I've experienced two very distinct types of attitudes in my career. The first are those professionals you just love to have on your team. They show up everyday ready "to serve." People with great attitudes are magnetic. Positive attitudes in the workplace help improve communications and teamwork. Positive attitudes keep up morale and help increase productivity. 

Unfortunately there are others that show up from time to time with an attitude they are here for a different reason: "to be served." When this happens, these people will stop a positive organization in its tracks. Negative attitudes dismantle teamwork, increase stress and cripple productivity. People with negative attitudes must change or they must go. 

The interesting part of this discussion is, even if an individual's mission in life is personal rewards, they have a much better chance of achieving personal satisfaction at all levels through the proper attitude. The latter attitude will, at some point, stop a career dead in its tracks. Usually the person won't even know what happened until their desk is being cleared out. 

Your choice: "are you here to serve" or "are you here to be served?" 

You have taken full responsibility for your job and you arrive every day ready to serve. Congratulations. You are almost there in doing your part in moving an organization forward in a positive direction. However, we are still missing one more piece of the puzzle. 

Everybody, at some point during the day, must execute. Ask yourself, am I competent to perform at the point of execution? Have I done those things required to give me the skills to be my best? Have I prepared myself to be the best that I can possibly be at my job? This usually boils down to enthusiasm for your own career. Enthusiasm gives you the power to keep working on a project instead of quitting. Enthusiasm is the burning desire that communicates commitment, determination and spirit. It shows everyone else you are sold on what you are doing and you are seriously motivated. Enthusiasm gives you drive to become your best. It says, "yes, I can execute" when called upon. 

Leadership and moving an organization forward is never a static proposition. Goals and objectives are met along the way, victories are celebrated and outstanding performance is recognized, but the pendulum is never static. Lay out a clear vision, make sure your mission is understandable, have goals and objectives that directly support the mission and vision. Foster an environment that promotes leadership in its truest sense, for when individuals understand "they are responsible" you have a powerful force. Surround yourself with people that show up every day ready "to serve." 

If you happen to have somebody in the organization that shows up wanting "to be served," change them quickly or remove them from the organization. Have a "learning environment," help each and every member improve their personal skills and expand their talents. This will come back to benefit the organization tenfold. 

Leadership, attitude and execution! Put this in place with the right vision, mission, goals and objectives, and you will succeed in moving the organization forward in a positive way.