It’s an accepted practice for senior managers and/or board members lock themselves away for a Strategic Planning Day. A day when they blue sky what they’d like to achieve and then break it down into more realistic objectives. Often the skills of the team are assessed to see if they can support these goals and, in the meantime, your team are sweating on whether this grand day of planning will impact on their employment, company values and their comfort zone.
Of course, commercial confidentiality and other sensitivities dictate that these planning days are exclusive to need-to-participate levels of management, but, when the goals are set, then the team needs to be part of another Strategic Planning Day – to be given the vision; to gain commitment; the connection to those goals; and to provide on-the-ground reality checks and map realistic timelines.
These team planning sessions are critical to success.
At a minimum, business owners should:
Have a plan to share your strategic planning goals with your team.
What you should be doing
- Share the vision. It may be a five-year plan for growth, the development of a new product or platform, the expansion of the business into other states or countries or it could be a plan to save the company. Whatever it is, get your team excited about it and committed to it.
- Listen to the team. Your team members are in the trenches, as they understand the challenges at an intimate level. They also can see opportunities that may not have been evident to you.
- Set smaller, measurable goals and deadlines. You will have no doubt broken your vision into quarterly goals. Share this and encourage feedback and discussion. Your team members need to set the deadlines and own them.
- Train and upskill. Make sure your people have the skills they need to meet their goals. Offer training, mentoring and support.
- Track progress. What gets measured gets done. Every quarter, provide a detailed report on the progress of what is being achieved. Detail any highlights but also share any missed deadlines, unforeseen roadblocks, changes to the plan. Once again, you may receive really valuable input from your team that will help you.
- Set rewards – share the bounty .If your business is sales based, you can have a commission or rewards-based system that allows hard work to be rewarded by increased earning power. Work out an alternative rewards system for your support staff, who don’t have the ability to ramp up their earnings through their efforts.
- Celebrate milestones as a team.
What not to do
- Don’t plans and goals that are only known by your high level management. Any business that doesn’t share its goals with the team is setting themselves up for, if not failure, then a meandering ride to success. Without an insight into the vision, how do your employees prioritise their tasks to meet the strategic plan?