Gain Traction Through Effective Planning
The beginning of the year is when most teams take time to reflect on the past year of activities and are energized to plan for the year ahead. Despite the excitement, many planning sessions end up in frustration and with a sense of disengagement. Here are five suggestions to keep your team energized and your strategic plan on track:
- Have the right people in the room. Often people are invited to participate in strategic planning sessions to avoid conflict. The larger the group – the more difficult it can be to stay on track, come to agreement, and get the highest level of participation from everyone. Limit your group to the people who are going to be accountable for execution of the plan.
- Have a clear target that is compelling. Is your vision clear, known and understood by all? If the answer is “yes!” use your company’s vision to help you create a compelling one year target. You will know if it is compelling if it is exciting but scares you just a little bit. If it doesn’t make you “feel” something – keep working until you do.
- Don’t get lost in the weeds. Don’t get distracted by minutia. Keep your strategic plan focused on initiatives and activities that are going to drive your company forward. Keep your target in mind. If the activity isn’t something that is going to help you hit your target – it shouldn’t be in your plan.
- Less is more. Plans can get unmanageable quickly if there are too many initiatives to manage. A simple guideline is that no person should have more than three initiatives to be accountable for in a 90 day period. Keep things simple. Complicated plans are hard to manage too.
- Live in a 90 day world. In order to get traction through your strategic plan, strategic planning sessions should be scheduled every 90 days to review and set goals for the next quarter. Each session should include time spent agreeing to what the team is going to be accountable for in the next 90 days. Living in a 90 day world will keep everyone focused and ensure that your company achieves traction.
Once you have your target and 90 day activities established, don’t throw your plan in a drawer. Use it as the centerpiece for communicating with your employees and driving activities throughout the entire organization.