While we continue to operate in a climate of economic uncertainty brought about by the fact that COVID-19 has not been eliminated, it’s important that businesses re-think how they approach both business planning and the empowering of their teams.

Eight-week Business Bites

Align your team to your goals and reap the rewards.

You should have a long-term vision for your business. There’s nothing wrong with your five-year plan having a generous serving of optimism. But your 12-month breakdown of that plan should be far more pragmatic, with a list of “must achieves” and a second list of “nice to achieves”. As always, revisit your plan regularly to tweak it, based on what’s happening in your industry sector, your state’s restrictions, and the geographical locations of your marketplace. All these moveable parts need to be constantly monitored, in order to keep your plan on track and realistic.

The current uncertain environment makes it really important that you break that 12-month plan down into small 8-week bites. By doing this, you can be really forensic about what you want to achieve in that timeframe. And at the end of the period, you can review your results and modify your 12-month plan based on your outcomes.

While it’s critical to have a detailed planning process, even more important is sharing your vision and the 8-week goals with your team.

First, share your blue-sky vision with your team, paint an exciting picture of what the future holds. Generate excitement and a desire to be part of the journey.

Then, share your 12-month business plan. Be honest about the challenges that are faced but also detail the opportunities.

However, where the rubber really hits the road, is to take out your 8-week plan and give every team member (or every team if you have a big business) their goals for that period. Make the goals clear, make your team accountable for the outcomes, and explain how everyone’s actions go toward completing the “must achieve” tasks for that period. Add some “nice to achieve” tasks, and think about structuring a reward or recognition program around the results.

Don’t wait eight weeks to see what’s been achieved; you or your management team should be holding a weekly meeting with everyone who is accountable for a result, to track how they are performing, unearth any problems or unforeseen roadblocks. Share the results with everyone.

The ability to envisage possible future challenges; to strategise solutions or work arounds; the capacity to very quickly put these solutions in place; with the full support of your team, is what it will take to ensure your business will continue to grow in these uncertain times.

To summarise:

  • Share your long term vision, then your 12 month business plan. Be honest about the challenges and opportunities.
  • Divide your 12 month plan into 8 week segments and give your team members or teams KPI’s to meet, so that your 12 month plan is kept on track. Incentivise, reward and recognise.
  • Review regularly throughout the 8 weeks, share the results, assess whether your 12 month plan needs to change based on what’s achieved.