If you are in any position of leadership then at some point you will have had to sit down with a team member and have an uncomfortable (but necessary) conversation about why a project or delegated task missed the mark. Maybe it was incomplete, missed a deadline or potentially didn’t get started at all. 

We can take the time to look back at all the things they could have done differently, but in working with people I have found that there are some common reasons why people miss the mark. If we deal with the right things up front, we can avoid having to look back and ask why. 

Here are just four reasons why people miss the mark and how we can avoid them.

1. Caught Up – Lacking Clarity 

People will miss the mark when they get caught up in competing priorities. When everything is ‘top priority’ nothing will be ‘top priority’.

We need to know what matters most or our team will get caught up in what matters now

We help our people manage competing priorities by communicating with CLARITY what is most valuable to you and the organisation. This enables your people to say yes and no to the right things.

2. Knocked Down – Lacking Energy 

People will miss the mark if they lack energy to go the distance. If a person is not able to effectively deal with setbacks it will have an impact on motivation and energy.

Opposition is either a setback or a step up. In every opposition there is opportunity for learning. Learning is energising. Great leaders know how to create a culture where setbacks are learning opportunities and a way to step up rather than failures that knock people down. Some of our best innovations are birthed in our biggest frustrations. 

3. Dragged Away – Lacking Focus

People will miss the mark if they are constantly participating in activities that distract them from their main focus. 

Is the environment allowing this person to spend the uninterrupted time required on the task or project? Or is there a team meeting overload, continual workspace interruptions from colleagues or bombardment of low level unimportant tasks? Are they just getting sidetracked and need a little encouragement to get back on track?

It could be as simple as allocating some time for a person to work in a closed off space or work from home for a portion of the day to give them the space they need to focus on and complete the task at hand. 

4. Drifted Off – Lacking Purpose

People will miss the mark and drift off if they don’t understand why this task or project matters. Creating purpose means helping people see the bigger picture they are contributing towards. 

As leaders we can’t help but see the big picture. It’s in front of us all the time. But that doesn’t mean everybody else sees it. Great leaders know how to keep that picture in front of people. Everybody wants to make a meaningful contribution. It’s when people buy in to the ‘why’ that they will commit to doing the ‘what’.