How to make your Strategic Plan a success - Part 2
In part one of this article, I outlined my tried-and-tested approach to setting priorities and generating momentum as you start to roll our your strategy. This week, I highlight important team management approaches that will drive your strategy delivery success.
‘Tight-loose-tight’ is another management approach that is finding favour with more forward-thinking business leaders. In a nutshell, it advises that your initial strategy is very tightly defined at the start within a well thought-out plan. Once the strategy has been fully briefed to the team, they then have license to create or develop solutions that best drive the strategy in their particular circumstances. This approach creates a more empowered workforce who can flex and adapt the strategy to work with most case scenarios. Finally, there is a ‘tight’ set of expectations set around the desired outcomes and measuring the results. Contrast this approach with the more commonly used ‘loose-tight-loose’ approach and the benefits become more apparent. When the strategy is loose i.e. not thought through and/or not communicated clearly, team members are left out of the loop. Management setting very tight rules for implementing the strategy then makes a bad situation worse. In effect, it limits the strategy to only being delivered in one particular way. More creative, personalised or effective approaches are factored out and opportunities are lost for the workforce to feel ownership of the strategy delivery. Then it all falls apart in the end with a loose approach to tracking results. When you create an environment where your team understand the strategy and can bring their unique take to its delivery, these customer interactions and ground-level initiatives can also become more authentic and engaging. When you consider that authenticity is now a top concern for customers worldwide, it highlights how potentially powerful this approach can be for your business.
Tasks with purpose
Task briefing is another step that can make all the difference between a success and a failure. Rather than just briefing a task in practical terms, take a few more minutes to explain to your team member how this task will impact the wider strategy and help drive success. When they understand the importance of the part they play within the strategy, it can help increase motivation and a successful task outcome.
Communication is the lifeblood of any project delivery. Without clear and regular communication, misunderstandings can creep in or a lack of information can stunt progress. Another LEAN management technique I frequently advise teams to use can help keep project communications right on track. Hold a short standing meeting every morning that lasts for no more than 15 minutes. At the meeting, ask everyone attending to answer the following 3 questions. 1) What did you achieve yesterday? 2) What are you planning to do today? 3)Is there anything blocking you from doing what you need to do today? Any blocks can be addressed in the meeting by the team leader, if they are quick to answer. If not, take them outside the meeting and address them afterwards. This can be a very quick way to nip any communications issues in the bud and keep momentum going.
Whether you use this morning meeting approach or something else, the key thing is to check in regularly to ensure everyone has the information they need to progress.
Make meetings work
Whatever you do in business, you will invariably end up hosting or attending meetings to help progress your project. The problem is, many meetings are often held for the wrong reason, or are ineffective at achieving their goals. One of my all-important guiding rules is that meetings are for making decisions and learning. Keep reports to a minimum. Instead use most of the time to constructively solve problems as a group. Also set an agenda of topics to cover in advance that is contributed to by all attendees. One of the great benefits of this approach is that it enables group learning. If one manager brings an issue to the table and another manager comes up with a solution, everyone one else at the table can learn from that conversation. When you come together regularly to solve problems, you can radically accelerate your organisation’s learning potential and more quickly drive your strategies to success.
All delivery cycles should end with a review. The review process enables you gather learnings from your activities and make a note of the adjustments you need to make for the future. A review should report your achieved outcomes and measure the results against your original SMART objectives. Ideally, you’ll have a range of objectives to review that include both ‘hard’ financial measurements and ‘soft’ outcomes such as skills development, relationships built etc. to help you get a 360 view of your work’s impact.
If you are looking for support with the development of a new Sales & Marketing Plan or a Business Funding Plan, please get in touch.
I can support you by producing a Sales & Marketing Plan or coaching you through the process of developing your own Plan. I also collaborate on a regular basis with my network of trusted advisors to produce or advise on the development of Business Funding Plans for growing SMEs.
If you need support delivering your strategy on a month-to-month basis, I also offer coaching and and advisory sessions that will help keep you on track for success.