Great ideas matter.  The ability to innovate, think outside the square and generate creativity is important in all organisations particularly as we look to achieve more with less.  Creating the time and space to do this is paramount for all of us as leaders with our teams, organisations, projects and key initiatives.

We tend to reward handsomely the idea generators, the innovators, the creative types.  They are seen as the rain makers, the people that we need to generate new ideas and initiatives. Without them, there is a perception we would not survive let alone thrive!!  From my perspective, I can see why they are rewarded but I don’t subscribe to the view that they are the most important people in the team.

The people that I love in any team including our own are the people that “close the loop”.  That is, they deliver what they say they are going to do, by the agreed date and to the expectations/outcomes that you are looking to achieve.  It is such a valuable commodity to “close the loop” that we phrase it as such in our team to highlight how important it is to being a high performing organisation.  It is a great quality and rewarded as such as we strive to do what we say we are going to do so that we build high levels of trust and speed in our organisation.

So what do the “close the loop” people look like?   Where do they hang out?  How do we foster this quality in people?  When reading the next little bit of this blog, perhaps visualise you are visiting a zoo looking for “close the loopers”.

From my experience, they come in various shapes and sizes.  They are not gender, height or any other specific.  What I can say is that you cannot pick them by their words but rather through their actions, deeds, commitments and undertakings.   You need to look for not what people say but what they do.  Watch their actions and acts and it is likely you will be able to identify them.

In terms of where they hang out, they tend to like to be with other “close the loopers”.  That is, other people who honor their commitments, have high standards and deliver.    They are rare to spot as a cluster or as a team but worth seeing and working with when you do spot them.  Organisations that consistently “close the loop” are even harder to find.

As for fostering this quality in people, I have a strong belief that this comes down to the leader.  The leader sets the tone for whether people “close the loop”.  They do this by holding their team to account, ensuring they follow up on their commitments and also ensure they ask the right questions to allow delivery to be a focus not an afterthought.  People do what they see.  If they see great delivery and honoring commitments from the leader, they will follow.