Creating a leadership legacy is often about the team you will leave behind after you exit the organization. Leaders should have a vision and strategy for creating a legacy, but they must also be prepared to convert that strategy into real results. The key to a solid execution of a legacy plan is goal alignment. Achieving that alignment is a twofold process in which leaders must:

  1. Identify the specific goals of the team that are positioned to get the company closer to achieving its mission and vision.
  2. Identify how each individual on the team is making a difference with respect to the company mission and vision.

Without a solid understanding of these two concepts, leaders cannot hope to create a true and lasting impact on the company.

What to do When the Team is Underperforming

After evaluating the team’s alignment with the company vision and mission, it is not uncommon to recognize that the group has gaps. This leaves many leaders wondering whether this means they must re-evaluate their strategies, or if they must re-evaluate the team.

It is critical to identify the source of the performance issues before making any assumptions, however. To drill down to the root cause, leaders should:

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  1. Take some time to self-reflect. What have you done, as a leader, to help your team achieve its goals? What have you not done? What steps can you take immediately to bridge those gaps?
  2. Look at each team member individually. Are their goals aligned with the team’s goals? Where do those goals fit in with the company vision? In many cases, the problem lies here. Effective leaders can recognize the difference between an underperformer and a talented employee who just doesn’t know where they fit in to the “big picture.” A goal alignment is a critical step to take before assuming poor performance is the source of the problem.
  3. Once goals are aligned, evaluate each team member from a performance standpoint. If there is a weak link then it must be developed or replaced.

Always remember that a team is made up of individuals. When a group is underperforming, it could be a problem with just one or two individuals, rather than the entire team. By looking at each person on their own, leaders have a much better chance of determining whether goal alignment or performance is the problem. From there, managers can take the proper action to help strengthen the entire team.

Creating Congruence Between Vision And Strategy

Creating a legacy is about more than just achieving goals. It is about making sure that everyone’s goals help the organization move forward. If your team is hitting all of their KPIs, that is fantastic and it shows true management strength. If those metrics have no real impact on the long-term success of the organization, however, they will mean nothing in five years. In order to make a mark, managers and leaders must be aware of where they, and where every member of their team fits in to the big picture.

Leaders must also be able to effectively communicate that fit to their employees each and every day. How does the work of each team member move the company closer to living up to its mission and vision? In order to be successful, employees need to feel as though they are playing a meaningful role in the success of the organization. When leaders can help their team members connect their individual goals to the company’s vision and strategy, they will instantly improve employee engagement, and help create a solid foundation that will lead to an impactful legacy over time.