ALL THE NOSES IN THE SAME DIRECTION!
Most organizations have gone through the values – mission – vision stage. By now, these documents are covered in dust. Many are still displayed in reception areas and board rooms. But most managers don’t really pay attention to them anymore. So it is not really surprising that many people site “lack of direction” as the single most irritating factor in the company they work for.
We forget that the goal of these documents was to bring people together around a common theme. The end result was never as important as the road to get there; the discussion was to be the catharsis. It is the leveling that occurs that brings people on the same page. A day talking about your values-mission-vision statement can be invaluable!
Too often even the actual strategy remains a mystery! Small companies are often lead by the original entrepreneur, and she is surprised to hear her immediate co-workers don’t comprehend the strategy she has spent many a waking night to develop. And the same disconnect easily develops in a larger organization, where the plan devised by the top is just not disclosed to the troops, or as a minimum, not understood. A few tips to avoid this disconnect:
- Verbalize your strategy in a clear and concise way. Use a few sentences if you have to, but the shorter and simpler, the better. Use a pictorial if possible.
- A strategy is not a dream. Make it a call to action, an achievable and believable goal that everyone, from top to bottom, can believe in.
- Engage in true dialogue. Take it from Alan Greenspan:
“I have never found the arbitrary use of authority to control an organization either effective, or, for that matter, personally interesting. If you cannot persuade your colleagues of the correctness of your position, it is probably worthwhile to rethink your own.”
- Every team member on your payroll needs to have clear goals, directly linked to the achievement of the overall strategy. Demonstrate your commitment to these goals by a clear prioritization: how critical is the strategy if my contribution is just part of my day to day tasks, and many other goals also need to be achieved? It sends the message that it is OK to point your nose in the right direction at a specific time only. And that is wrong!
- If you don’t have the discipline to follow a strategy, then don’t waste time putting one together! Now I live by the dictum “What is the point of having a mind if you cannot change it”! You’d better change the strategy if you discover a better one! But be consistent, and follow your plan until you come up with a better one. And at that stage, communicate the new plan, and start the cascading process anew.
- Follow up. Make sure the individual’s goals are met. Find out why deviations occur. Use your Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle. Get people to assist one another where needed so the overall goal does not get compromised. Jump in where your expertise can help, or throw more resources at the issue. And demonstrate your commitment to achieving the goal by your actions!
- Visualize your strategy, the cascading goals and the progress made. It will point out to all which noses are not aligned. Peer pressure never hurts!
Following this process with rigor will make sure people understand how they feature in the overall goal of the company, and why their noses should point in the same direction. Make sure they know that exceptions won’t be tolerated. You cannot afford a lack of discipline in this area!
The benefits of strategic planning , and a sound strategic planning service to help you through the cycle are vital getting your employees truely motivated. It is a key component of best HR Practices.