I invited several top leaders, authors, and bloggers to share their wisdom with Leadership Freak readers. Thanks to Douglas R. Conant for contributing this insightful post on bringing goals to life.

Many leaders understand the importance of designing a strategy and setting goals. But bringing those goals to life can be challenging.

when you take the word or out of your vocabulary

To practice leadership that works — ask these 5 questions to ensure strong execution of key goals.

1. Are we starting with an abundance mentality?

When you take the word “or” out of your vocabulary, and embrace the word “and” instead, the possibilities become limitless.

  • Be tough minded on standards and tender-hearted with people.
  • Wisely attend to the near-term and the long-term.
  • Remain both disciplined and flexible as you work towards the extraordinary.
  • Create systems to drive efficiency and celebrate community to build unity.

2. Are we pursuing a worthy purpose?

When you understand the “why”, you’ll connect more deeply with the “what” that your goals require.

  • Craft and clarify the higher purpose of your organization.
  • Make sure the purpose governs your actions and tethers the work to shared meaning.
  • Champion the purpose with intentionality, passion, persistence, and humility.

3. Are we dispelling ambiguity?

When you minimize confusion, you get the best results.

  • Communicate with exquisite clarity to all stakeholders.
  • Make sure you, and your message, are credible.
  • Be transparent, compelling, and direct.

4. Are we rallying resources?

When you rally the right resources, you can ensure the right stuff gets done.

  • Know exactly what work needs to be accomplished to achieve goals.
  • Adapt structures, processes, and systems so they are poised to help your strategy come to fruition.
  • Align learning and development plans, technology, human capital, and budget to support strategic initiatives.

5. Are we “inspecting what we expect”?

When you shine a light on expectations, people rise to the challenge, and keep getting better.

  • Implement ways to visibly measure what’s important.
  • Continually learn what’s needed, what’s not, and course-correct along the way.
  • Celebrate people for their contributions.

In what other ways can leaders bring goals to life?

Join Doug for a transformational, 27 hour leadership adventure on October 14-15 in Philadelphia at the ConantLeadership Boot Camp.