Who doesn’t love a good strategic plan?
But what’s the point of a good plan if you don’t actually implement it?
I have discovered over the years that I am good at planning – really good – but less good at executing those plans, especially if it isn’t for something tangible. Longer term plans and strategies are harder still: they involve looking far into the future, considering the bigger picture and dealing with plenty of unknowns.
Include others in your strategic planning
To create a really robust organisational strategic plan, and to keep those bigger, longer-term plans in motion, we all need more than just our own thoughts. It is easy enough to sit down and create a plan on our own. But while it takes more time and consideration to get other opinions, the value added by including other insights is well worth the effort.
You just need to get the team working on your plans – strategically!
Bringing in other people, with their diverse ideas makes it feel less like we are trying to build a castle on our own. It makes it more like we are all adding bricks together, with the goal of building the supporting walls. Yes, you need to co-ordinate to make sure you add the right bricks in the right places so that it actually works. If you do this right you all get to see the end result as the castle emerges from those well-placed bricks.
It’s clear that many hands make light work. However, when it comes to strategic planning, too many hands doing the wrong work can lead, if not to a disaster, then to something ineffective being created. The castle might not fall down (phew!) but the walls will be wonky and there won’t be a bathroom.
5 ways to help your team contribute to your organisational strategic plan
So how can you help your team collaborate on your strategy or plan to make sure it is effective, useful and becomes part of the fabric of your organisation?
- Involve the right people in the first place. You might not need the whole team especially if it is large with different levels of seniority. Team members will only get frustrated if they are invited but not included or able to contribute. Be specific about who you are involving and why.
- If you are thinking of involving a broader range of people and getting wider input into your strategic planning then you’ll need to allow for a longer process. Of course, it will take more time and effort, but it will be worthwhile in the end. A series of shorter workshops combined with some ‘homework’ in between would probably work better than a full away day for everyone. You’ll be able to include the right people at the right time and get some really good ideas and viewpoints.
- Be serious about collaboration by inviting contributions and then valuing those contributions. People can tell if you are just ticking boxes and don’t really want to hear what they have to offer! Be bold and brave and let go of some of your own ideas to make way for others’. At the same time, be clear about what is up for discussion and what is not. For example, this is the opportunity to discuss and set specific sets of objectives. But your organisational vision which you worked hard to create may not be part of the conversation this time.
- Who is holding who accountable and how? Different team members can take responsibility for different parts of the plans – it really gives people a sense of ownership of the process and an interest in being part of a successful result. Conversely, spending time creating an innovative plan that doesn’t get executed or monitored is more than worthless. It leaves your people feeling like their opinions don’t count.
- How might you make changes to plans as you look and move forward? As we have seen over the last few years, changes and surprises can and do happen. What might you be able to put in place so you don’t have to throw the whole plan out the window if something unexpected comes along? Considering a few “what ifs” with your team will help them really feel valued and more able to deal with change. A tool like Critical Uncertainties is great for this.
If you love the idea of bringing your team together to work on your organisational strategic plan, but have no idea where to start, give me a shout. I’ll help you and your team come together to create a strategy that works for your organisation.
In other words, let’s build that castle!