Welcome to the second-to-last week in our series, What Puppy Training Can Teach You About Leading and Managing. This week we’re talking about the importance of determining what success looks like and then building toward it.

Moving a puppy toward success is a process using small steps. Consider trying to get a puppy to use a pee pad or waiting to go outside to go.

When dogs are young there are a lot of challenges. They’re physically immature and they don’t really know the cues when they need to go. They live in the moment, so really have to pee when the need arises and don’t have time to make it to the appropriate spot—and they don’t really know that they shouldn’t use a rug or floor as a bathroom.

To begin the process, you need to know what you want as a family. In this case, you want the puppy to go to the back door, bark when it needs to pee, and then do so in the backyard.

Next, identify the small steps that will get you to that behavior. These small steps establish what success looks like for the puppy and moves her toward the desired behavior. But more importantly, all members of the family are working toward this same behavior.

Everyone is on board with the desired outcome of the pup going out the back door to pee in the yard, and begins to help the puppy move in that direction.

Only when you know what success looks like
can you effectively work toward it.

As we write this, we’ve just come from a meeting with an executive team that’s in turmoil. We were asked to help them navigate their challenges and help them get aligned behind a shared vision.

To start that meeting, we asked the 7 team members to spend a few minutes individually writing their answers to the question, “What does success look like on this issue?”

When they were done writing, we had each individual walk to the front of the room and post their answers. The results were stunning in that there was almost no overlap across the team about what success looked like.

Each individual stated their definition of success with clarity and conviction, so there was no shortage of ideas—just no clear way to define what shared success looked like as a team.

Each member of the team was heading in the direction they thought was right, but it wasn’t a shared vision, so they weren’t getting anywhere constructive. It would be like one member of the family taking the puppy out the front door to pee while the other is focusing on getting her out the back door. The poor puppy has no idea where she should pee!

This week, consider the things that you, your team, your department, or your organization are working on and ask yourself, “Do we really have a clear, shared definition of what success looks like?” If not, you’re probably finding it challenging to make headway toward those goals.

Finding the shared vision that can be supported by the whole team is critical to successful behaviors.

If you’re struggling to define the shared vision let us knowWe would be delighted to help you move toward success.