Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High-Performers Quit

Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High-Performers Quit
Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High-Performers Quit
Written by Heather L. Cole, March 21st, 2024

In every high-performer’s career journey, there comes a pivotal moment that defines their future trajectory. For some, this moment is a realization—a stark awakening to the misalignment between their personal goals and the strategic direction of their organization. This was the case in my own career, prompting me to embrace entrepreneurship after witnessing chronic alignment issues across various companies. So, today we will discuss Bridging the Alignment Gap: Why Your High Performers Quit.

Lack of Alignment

Alignment, or rather the lack thereof, is akin to a vehicle that has hit a huge pothole and its alignment is off.  After that, the car tends to veer off course.  Over time this misalignment does more and more damage to your car.  It’s not obvious at first by the wear of the tires. If not repaired, it gets worse and can even cause the tire to blow.  If you have ever had a tire blowout, you know it makes the journey arduous and much harder to get to the destination.  Misalignment is a fundamental issue many organizations grapple with, often unknowingly, leading to the attrition of their most valuable assets: high-performing employees.

LEARN MORE: Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision

Thursday, March 28th, 2024, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern

Register HERE 

Why I Became an Entrepreneur

Every job I ever quit was due to misalignment. One of the main reasons I started my own company 20 years ago was I could not find a company I felt would let me continue to grow.  My personal story serves as a testament to this challenge.

Back in the 1990s, I took a job with a growing ERP software company.  I was excited about learning their technology and I was determined to excel, I set an ambitious goal: to become the fastest certified consultant and pivot into a pre-sale role. I communicated this to my boss during the interview and she said “Okay”.  I then asked if I could be reviewed after 6 months and was told the company structures offered an annual review.  I insisted that I would require a 6-month review and she said, “Okay”.  Despite my dedication, exemplified by long nights and weekends immersed in mastering the software, the company's response to my zeal was lackluster.  After 6 months I demanded my review.  Her feedback was simply you’re doing a fabulous job, keep doing what you are doing.  I left the review deflated, angry, and questioning my decision to join the firm.  The feedback, albeit positive, felt hollow, devoid of any forward-looking vision or pathway for growth. The company left no room for flexibility, and failed to recognize or harness my aspirations.  Two days later I handed in my resignation. This misalignment was the catalyst for my departure. 

Do You Want Your High-Performers Competing with You?

This scenario repeated itself a couple more times for me I was not a fast learner.  I eventually handed in my final resignation letter and started my own company, Lodestar Solutions.  And yes, Lodestar Solutions competed directly with my prior firm.

High-Performers Need to See Their Role

This narrative is far from unique. Many high performers, much like athletes from their formative years, thrive on clear, tangible goals. They seek not just to understand the broader strategic objectives of their organization but to see how their contributions interweave with this larger tapestry. Without this clarity, the sense of purpose diminishes, and engagement wanes.

Bridging the Alignment Gap

The solution lies in bridging this alignment gap through transparent communication and a structured framework for setting and tracking goals. A potent tool in this endeavor is the methodology of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). OKRs empower organizations to distill their strategic goals into actionable, measurable objectives at every level of the hierarchy. This clarifies the direction for each team and individual and fosters a sense of ownership and accountability toward shared success.

Implementing OKRs

Implementing OKRs begins with articulating the long-term strategic goals of the organization. These are then broken down into specific, time-bound objectives for each team, ensuring alignment with the overarching vision. Key Results, the measurable outcomes associated with each objective, serve as milestones, guiding progress and facilitating course corrections as needed.

The true power of OKRs lies in their ability to bridge the gap between high-level strategy and day-to-day operations. By making strategic goals tangible and actionable, OKRs demystify the path to success for high performers, aligning their aspirations with the organization's trajectory.

Explore More

As we delve into the intricacies of OKRs and their impact on strategic alignment in our upcoming webinar, it's imperative for leaders to introspect. Are your organization's goals clearly communicated and aligned with the aspirations of your team members? Are you leveraging tools like OKRs to ensure everyone is not just rowing in the same direction but also understands why?

Strategic alignment is not just about setting goals but about weaving a shared narrative that resonates with every member of the team, galvanizing them towards a common purpose. As leaders, our challenge is to ensure that this narrative is not only compelling but also clear and inclusive, leaving no high performer behind.

Join us on this journey to transform strategic visions into lived realities, fostering an environment where every high performer finds their place, purpose, and path to success. To start this journey all you need to do is clear your calendar and register for my 1-hour webinar where I will share the secrets to:

LEARN MORE: Bridging the Gap Between Short-Term Financial Goals and Long-Term Strategic Vision

Thursday, March 28th, 2024, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern

Register HERE 

Unleashing Your Potential: Setting Goals for Analytic Professionals in 2024

Unleashing Your Potential Setting Goals for Analytic Professionals in 2024
Unleashing Your Potential Setting Goals for Analytic Professionals in 2024
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 28th, 2023

As we step into 2024, it's time to redefine our approach to career advancement, especially in the dynamic world of business analytics. The key? Strategic goal setting. This isn't just about climbing the corporate ladder; it's about making a real impact.

Align with the Company's Vision

First and foremost, understanding your company's strategic goals is crucial. Unsure of these goals? Take the initiative to ask your CFO or manager. When they inquire about your sudden interest, confidently express your desire to contribute significantly to these objectives. Your proactive approach will not only demonstrate your commitment but also provide clarity on how your role can drive the company forward.

Your Role in the Bigger Picture

As an analytics professional, your expertise in providing insightful reports and dashboards is invaluable. These tools are the compass guiding your company toward its goals. But the question is, how can you elevate your contribution? It’s time to think outside the box.

Adding Value Through Innovation

Consider how you can integrate advanced tools like AI-infused business intelligence into your work. If you're a Cognos user, spearheading an upgrade can be a game-changer for your organization. Embracing AI and its potential to optimize productivity is not just an option; it's a necessity in 2024.

SMART Goals: Your Blueprint for Success

Now, let's talk about SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These aren't just buzzwords; they are your blueprint for success. For instance, set a goal to enhance your AI analytics skills by enrolling in three online courses in the first quarter. This goal is precise, quantifiable, realistic, aligned with your company's direction, and has a clear deadline.

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." - Tony Robbins, world-renowned life and business strategist. This quote perfectly encapsulates the essence of goal setting in transforming aspirations into reality.

 The Power of Accountability

Here’s a crucial piece of the puzzle often overlooked: accountability. Finding an accountability partner within your professional network can significantly increase your chances of achieving your goals. This partnership fosters mutual support, motivation, and a sense of responsibility.

As Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," says, "Accountability breeds response-ability." Embrace accountability as a tool for empowering yourself to take responsible actions towards your goals.

Personal and Professional Symbiosis

Remember, your professional goals should resonate with your personal aspirations. Are there other skills you're passionate about developing? For example, mastering software demos can amplify your ability to showcase your work and ideas, adding another feather to your cap.

The Journey to 2024’s Success

Imagine ending 2024, looking back at a trail of achieved goals, each marking a step towards your personal and professional growth. It's not just a possibility; it’s within your grasp. Start planning now and let 2024 be your most remarkable year yet.

 Let's Make It Happen Together

If you're ready to take this journey but unsure where to start, Lodestar Solutions is here to help. We specialize in guiding professionals like you in setting and achieving ambitious yet attainable goals. Schedule a call with us, and let’s transform your 2024 into a year of groundbreaking achievements.  Please email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Here's to a year of growth, success, and making a significant impact. Let's dive into 2024 with purpose and passion!

Surrounding Yourself for Success! – Part 2

Surrounding Yourself for Success Part 2
Surrounding Yourself for Success Part 2
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 8th 2022

Are you ready to achieve your goals?  Are you ready to get promoted, make more money, or get your dream job?  If so, there is one step you can take that will help you get what you want faster!  It’s SURROUNDING YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS!

Last week I introduced you to the circle of success.  We shared the four categories of people I surround myself with that have provided the encouragement, accountability, and inspiration to help me succeed.

The categories are Leadership/Mentors, Team/Co-Workers, Growth/Learning, and Friends/Family.  Last week we covered Leadership/Mentors and Team/Co-Workers.  Here’s a link to Surrounding Yourself for Success! – Part 1.

It’s important to note that all of these categories are important.  If you are significantly lacking in one, it could slow down your success.

But I also want to challenge you to do a little reflection on your situation.  Are you surrounding yourself with the right people… Is it time to level up?

Surround success

My Story

Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution and maybe for a week or so you take the necessary steps, but then you slip.  Tomorrow you will get back to it.  Then you say Monday I’ll do it.  And before you know it, it’s June.  It’s so easy to go through our daily routine and wonder where all the time went.  

We all have done it.  But research shows that when you tell others about your goal, and you have someone who holds you accountable you are more likely to accomplish your goal. 

The challenge for many people is finding the courage to tell others about their BOLD Goals.  And then finding someone that will hold you accountable for doing the work it will take to accomplish those goals is even more difficult. 

For years I feared telling my friends and family what I wanted in life.  I felt alone on my own fantasy island.  But then on the encouragement of a long distant friend, I attended a Tony Robbins summit in San Jose.  As I walked into the enormous convention center the music was pounding, people were dancing and I thought, “What did I get myself into?”  I was way out of my comfort zone.  But as the event started and Tony bounded onto stage with his massive frame and energy, he explained that if we ever felt alone in having big goals, if our friends and family thought we were a little off, that we were in the right place.  The room of 5,000 people were all people like me!  Crazy goals, big visions and wanting to make the world a better place! 

What I learned is that no matter what your goal, or vision is, there are conferences and events focused on your topic and at those conferences are people even crazier than you.  If you surround yourself with people that also have lofty goals, magic can happen. 

Growth/Learn

The fourth category in the circle of success is surrounding yourself with people that help you grow and learn.  People that respectfully challenge your thoughts, and then add new ideas. 

This week I am in Huntington Beach, CA at a Coaching Summit.  The reason I am here is I needed a boost.  I needed to totally immerse myself in a room of positive, and inspirational people.  I need to learn new ideas in the coaching industry and meet new friends.  I know that when I attend summits like this it’s like a power pelt, I gain clarity, new ideas and meet people that will hold me accountable.  If you have been able to find people that help you grow and think differently in your hometown, fabulous.  I have never been that lucky.  But when I commit the time, and travel to remote locations that I know will have people that want to learn and grow, it’s game changing.   Some of my best friends I have met at conferences and masterminds around the world.   Heck, I even met my husband at a conference.

Heather and Gary

My success measure for a conference is to learn 3 new things and meet 3 new people I will keep in touch with. 

Putting yourself in environments where you are surrounded by people with knowledge and experiences that are different than yours provides new ideas, and perspectives.  Often these people are instrumental in learning new approaches to challenges, or they open doors you didn’t know exist. 

What is on your learning list?  What conferences are you going to?  What groups are you involved with. 

Do you need a little boost?  Ready to learn new things?  According to this Forbes article, lifelong learning is a key to thriving. (Embrace Lifelong Learning to Thrive in The Future Of Work)

Imagine attending an event to learn and meeting a learning buddy?  So do it today, join a new trade associate, user group or register for a conference.  Now that we are returning to in person, I recommend going and being physically present and put yourself out there.   

You might want to check out this blog, 14 Steps to Take to Build a Strong Professional Network.

If you are looking to learn more about building your team and hiring top talent join us for our upcoming webinar.


Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles: Talent, Time and Tech

Monday, December 12, 2022 10-11AM Eastern

Who Are Your Cheerleaders

Take a minute and think about one family member or friend that encourages you and is a positive force in your world.  Do they know your BOLD Goals?  Do they hold you accountable for showing up everyday to take one small step toward your goal?  Maybe you don’t have a family or friend that cheers you on. That’s okay most people don’t. 

As I mentioned earlier for years, I didn’t have the family and friend relationships that I felt comfortable sharing my goals with.  I felt alone on my island.  I even have family members that mock and joke about “Heather’s personal development”.  The more they mocked me, the more I pulled away. 

Have you ever noticed the people that don’t support your goals are always the ones who say you are “so lucky” when you accomplish them.  Hmmm.

Toxic friends and family are easy to find.  But when you find cheerleader friends, MAGIC HAPPENS!

Family/Friends -

The fourth and final category of the circle of success is your family and friends and here’s a reality check. 

MOST OF US NEED TO LEVEL UP OUR FRIEND GROUP!

Yes, that’s the brutal truth.  We have friends that are toxic and holding us back.  It’s time to find new friends.  I am not saying you have to completely disassociate with your toxic high school friend you have known for 35 years, just find new ones and spend more time with the positive ones.  Here’s an interesting blog on Frenemies.

The Five People

Chris & I met at a Conference years ago and talk every Tuesday!

Jess, one of my closest friends that I met at a conference in Spain.

Try this exercise, list the five people you spend the most time with.  Now score them 0-10 on how encouraging and supportive they are.  Are they helping you grow?  What’s the average? 

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  Do you need some new friends?  A great way to level up your friend group is to do what I did.  Attend conferences, user groups, summits, or join a mastermind.  It can be game changing.  Heck I even created a virtual book club and invited random associates.  It was a great way to get to know them better. 

In Conclusion

The way to achieve your bold goals faster is to surround yourself for success.  If you would like to learn more how about the summits, conferences and events I have found most beneficial, email me at hcole@lodestarsolutions.com.

Surrounding Yourself for Success! – Part 1 of 2

Surrounding Yourself for Success - Part 1
Surrounding Yourself for Success - Part 1
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 2nd 2022

Can you believe it’s December 2022 already?  This week I celebrated my birthday by sitting on the beach and chillaxing with my husband, Gary.  Taking time out is essential to be a high performer and it allows for reflection and goal setting.  I decided this is the year!  This is the year I’ll make an even bigger difference in the world of Performance Management and Analytics!  But for me to achieve my goal, there is one extremely important step I must take!  This one step can change one’s life!  The step is SURROUNDING YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS!

What Does Surrounding Yourself for Success Mean?

Think about your biggest accomplishment.  Who was by your side?  Or who was in front of you leading the way?  Maybe they were behind you pushing you to achieve your vision.  In my life I have found that ALL my achievements had someone that somehow cheered me on!

The cheerleaders were employees and team members that were in the trenches with me, they were family members, and even strangers, but there was always someone.  So, what I have learned is that surrounding yourself for success starts with surrounding myself with the right people.  I believe there are 4 main categories of people that help me reach success faster.  However there have been times that I found myself in the company of people that not only were not my cheerleaders, but they held me back. Some people are even toxic. So, let’s explore these four categories.  It’s important to note that all these categories are important.  If you are significantly lacking in one, it could slow down your success.

But I also want to challenge you to do a little reflection on your situation.  Are you surrounding yourself with the right people… Is it time to level up?

Surround success

Leadership/Mentors

The first category is Leadership and Mentors.  This could be your boss or another leader in your organization, or it could be a mentor or trusted advisor, even a coach you hire.  These are individuals that aren’t just your manager, but they take an interest in your success, hopefully in all areas of your life.  They will ask you the tough questions and should help you become strategic about your actions and future. 

In my life these have not been my bosses, but I have found when I have hired the right coach or joined the right mastermind, it’s like getting in the express lane.  My goals get achieved faster without as much challenge.  Do you have the right coaches, and leaders in your life?  If you are thinking about a career change, I encourage you to not just look at the company and the job but are there leaders within the organization you would benefit from having in your circle?

Team/Co-Workers

The second category of people I put in my circle of success are team members and co-workers.  These are not necessarily just people in the company I work in but can be people working on a project with me.  When we have teams that have a common goal and work effectively, we will be successful.  Unfortunately, we see all too often that teams are put together without consideration of how the personalities will meld.  Organizations just look for skills and knowledge, and then wonder why projects fail. 

In the world of business analytics, I see organizations hiring people just because they know Cognos, or Power BI or IBM Planning Analytics and they fail to look at the most important component, ATTITUDE!

What I have discovered is that many hiring managers fail to define their core values for their team and then find people that have those core values and attitudes.   

When I first took the time to define the core values for our Lodestar Solutions Team and then evaluated our team members it was like lightning struck!  My struggles were because I had a few team members that did not have the right cores values or attitude for our goals.  This epiphany caused me to act.  I immediately talked to the team members in question and helped them find jobs elsewhere that was a better fit for them.  

If you are looking to learn more about building your team and hiring top talent join us for our upcoming webinar.

Tackling the Top 3 Performance Management and Budgeting Struggles: Talent, Time and Tech

Monday, December 12, 2022 10-11AM Eastern

Registration Link

Next week we will address the two other categories in the Circle of Success. 

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