Having long-term vision is one of the keys to good leadership, and necessary for any successful business. With long-term visions come long-term projects—and the longer-term the project, the harder it is to manage your team’s progress towards completing it. All the complications are what make executing your long-term vision the sign of success; it’s definitely not easy to do.
I asked ten successful entrepreneurs for their advice on how to pull this off, and this is what they had to say:
1. Use Basecamp
We love using Basecamp to monitor projects, goals and action items. It is a really great way to have visibility into what the team is working on. In addition, the fact that you can set reminders and deadlines on to-do items gives our team accountability to get goals done.
- Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People
2. Visual Aids Are Still Useful!
Remember those goal thermometers at fundraisers? Weren’t those fun? Okay, so they might be a little simplistic, but visualizing exactly where you stand vis-a-vis your goals is extremely motivating. Whether you’re behind and need to catch up or you’re getting ever so close, seeing where you stand can trigger the right response. For extra motivation, make them public to your team.
- Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
3. Have Your Team Set Their Own Goals
All projects work best with the full team’s buy-in. Rather than telling them their goals, have them run through an exercise where they determine their own project goals. When they make the commitment themselves, they are psychologically more likely to follow through. We all work best this way. If you’ve chosen the right team, they will choose goals that are appropriately focused and aggressive.
- Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas
4. Hold Your Team Accountable Using Weekly Updates
Ask for weekly updates. By doing so, you’ll let employees know that you care about their progress and not just the finished product. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions on a timely basis, thereby improving the overall quality of the project.
- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
5. Track Your Project With Software
By using a software solution such as ONTRAPORT or Highrise, you can easily track your team’s projects, milestones and achievements. Plus, getting a system like this down early will help you scale the business as you find out what works.
- John Hall, Influence & Co.
6. Micro-Execute Tasks with Trello
You have to be capable of long-term, strategical thinking while simultaneously killing it at the tactical, micro-execution level. This is very hard to do. I do my best to keep my team abreast of the context behind every task and make them aware of how it fits into the bigger picture. We track both our long- and short-term progress in Trello and do daily huddles to stay on the same page.
- Danny Boice, Speek
7. Break Up Every Project Into Smaller Ones
It is impossible for a team member to successfully complete a major project as a whole. The management team member must break up the project into smaller parts so that every time a small portion of the project is completed, there is a feeling of achievement that keeps the staff motivated. When you look back on what went right and wrong, you can learn for the next time there is a big project.
- Derek Capo, Next Step China
8. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
All of our team members work with their managers to develop quarterly rocks—three to five quarterly goals that can move the company forward. These must be S.M.A.R.T.—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
- Zach Clayton, Three Ships Media
9. Vision Boards and Baby Steps
At ‘ZinePak, we create vision boards with baby steps defining smaller goals that, if we hit all of them, will allow us to conquer the larger, long-term strategic goal. These bi-weekly or monthly goals are more defined, time-sensitive and create accountability among all individuals on the team. Breaking the goal up into smaller tasks helps everyone stay motivated and excited to keep chipping away.
- Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak
10. Keep Track of Your Project and Your Progress With Asana
When you create goals and projects on Asana and set tasks for your team members, it will keep track of all completed tasks. This allows you to get a bird’s eye view on all progress your team members have made on a project or a goal. Every team needs Asana! My team agrees that it has really boosted our productivity.
- Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World