During the coming months, it is typical for most companies to begin the planning process for the next year or several years. Strategic planning meetings are an exercise in defining (or refining) the direction of the organization and establishing (or refining) the strategic action plans on how to get there. Given inflation, the uncertainty of the economy, the workforce, and the labor pool, leaders are wise to get a head start on addressing these and other challenges.
The three biggest roadblocks for most leaders during the planning process are capturing the vision, identifying the correct planning assumptions, and establishing the plan as a meaningful document.
1. TEST YOUR VISION
Visions without clarity can pose problems. When leaders head in a fuzzy direction, getting the entire organization on board, engaged, and excited about the future is among the biggest challenge to address.
A good way (albeit risky) to see how well an existing vision resonates with your organization is randomly asking people these key questions: 1) What is the company’s vision? 2) Why is having a vision important? and 3) What one thing can you do to contribute to that vision?
If employees don’t enthusiastically and correctly answer these questions, you’re missing opportunities to deliver on your vision and profitably grow your business every day.
2. IDENTIFY CORRECT BUSINESS ASSUMPTIONS
Making assumptions when planning can make or break a strategic plan. They can also make or break a leader. That’s why it’s critical for leaders to avoid these three strategic planning traps:
- Being satisfied with a basic set of assumptions to use during the planning process.
- Setting assumptions with only top-down targets for your team to hit.
- Ignoring the assumptions made once the results of the plan are reviewed.
Properly and completely addressing assumptions now can save in confusion, disappointment, and turmoil down the road. These suggestions will help you elevate your performance relative to the assumptions you make when preparing your next strategic plan.
- Don’t lose the base set of assumptions you typically use; they’re probably fine.
- Expand on your base set of assumptions.
- Go deeper into the organization to get feedback on what people see and hear.
- Consider conferring with an outside source to challenge your assumptions.
- Always review your plan’s progress with your set of assumptions nearby.
3. DON’T LET YOUR PLAN LINGER ON THE BOOKSHELF
Avoid creating a plan that simply lands on a bookshelf to collect dust. Instead, make it a living, breathing roadmap that guides your organization and provides everyone with a solid basis for decision making. That way, as market conditions change, you can actively modify your plan to adapt to new situations. Stable companies, big and small, are stable for a reason; they put their business plans in writing and keep them active.
ONE LAST THOUGHT
One thing to never do is believe your organization has “made” it. Instead, you must strategically tackle the challenges before you, write and execute your plan, evaluate the progress, make adjustments, and repeat.
About the Coach:
As a leadership development expert, Randy Goruk works with construction industry leaders to improve employee engagement and business growth. Contact Randy directly to learn how he can help you and your team: randy@LeadersEdge360.com. For more, visit leadersedge360.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2022
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