I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Now it’s on to the next holiday season! This surely is a hectic time of the year. My wife and I were just looking at how busy we are this month! And, that was just stuff for the kids and didn’t include our obligations! During all this chaos, the holiday season is when many companies are finishing up their strategic planning. This week, I’d like to remind you of some things that will help your 2019 strategic plan be more successful!
Creating a strategic plan for the following year is a necessary and time-consuming effort most companies execute each and every year. You make assumptions, and contingency plans all in an attempt to predict what will happen next year and how you can continue to make money and ideally grow. In my years in leadership, management, and consulting, I know that the planning process is long and painful. I have also seen where an absolutely brilliant plan put together and as soon as it is time to execute, the plan tends to break apart. This could be from a variety of unforeseen circumstances or factors. Here are some things to consider when creating and executing your 2019 strategic plan.
Team Buy In
Unless you are a solo entrepreneur, you will most likely have to have team buy in to accomplish goals. Your team will most likely be the ones executing your plan on a day to day basis. It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to understand that people are more motivated and committed to executing something if they had some input into the plan. Dictating from the top often leads to resentment, and a minimal effort. It is not always feasible to have the entire company involved in the strategic planning, at least not directly, so how do you get everyone’s buy in?
Start with creating a compelling vision. A compelling vision will tell everyone on the team where they are going in 2019. You cannot use vague terms. Being a “world class” organization doesn’t give anyone a clear picture of the goal. In contract, “We’re going to the moon,” does. It is a goal that people can visualize, repeat and buy into.
Second, your vision should be compelling to your team members. The goal has to take them someplace they want to go! Employees will want to know what is in it for them.
Finally, everyone needs to know how they can contribute. Your strategic plan should outline how everyone in the organization contributes to the achievement of the goal. People will not buy into a plan if they do not think they matter in the final execution.
Now that you have a plan and you have buy-in from your team, the next step is to set up accountability. Yes, accountability means making sure people do what they are expected to do and it is an important part of the equation. Accountability works best when people are able to hold each themselves, and each other, accountable. Peer pressure works with adults just as it does with our teenagers.
When developing your plan, and executing your plan, set up a framework for accountability. Have employees meet regularly (weekly if possible) to provide status on their responsibilities. In these meetings each week, have everyone commit to certain accomplishments each week. Accomplishments that will take them closer to their goal. These should be achievable in a week. Then have each member report on their progress each week. It is important to not allow excuses.
Setting weekly goals every week and achieving them is important to the overall progress. If your supply chain committed to having parts available for manufacturing, make sure the parts are available.
I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve planned and within weeks something doesn’t knocks us completely off track. Eventually the plan can become obsolete and difficult to manage. When you get off track from the original plan, but still need to accomplish a goal the weekly format can help provide a format for progress. By identifying weekly steps that are achievable within a week, you can keep moving forward.
When you do hit roadblocks, or your plan needs adjusted get your team to help identify solutions. Keep them focused on the goal and allow their creativity to flourish. You’d be surprised how creative your team can be when they are motivated and committed to a goal!
This Week’s Challenge
We all have to go through strategic planning. It is important and necessary. Keeping in mind that need to execute the plan and setting up framework that gets team buy in, holds members accountable and provides flexibility will improve your chances of success in 2019!
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.