Reaching Goals does not happen, just because.
It requires taking a journey of action steps with timelines and accountability
Strategic Processes, connected
Successful business efforts involve strategic processes of planning, implementation, testing, and evaluation.
Strategic planning is an essential first step in the development of a results-based growth or change system. The plan must address the following questions:
Where are we, today?
What do we have to work with?
Where do we want to be?
What would it look like to be there?
What one actions, if done well, would take us there?
This process is undertaken by businesses, not-for-profits and agencies that are addressing big issues such as growth, funding for expansion, and improving customer relations. The word “Customer” is all inclusive of partners, vendors, employees, clients, volunteers, board members and leadership.
Many Businesses have developed strategic plans to guide results-based change processes. And numerous successful efforts included many of the following lessons:
Successful efforts involve stakeholders to gain their support.
Plan development requires consideration and articulation of the company Purpose, values and priorities;
The most useful plans are succinct and easily translated into useful measures.
Prioritizing goals is an essential step in developing a strategic plan.
Inclusion of too many goals causes overwhelm with the details of data collection and reporting.
The steps involved in developing a strategic plan are described below. Although this process appears systematic and rational, it often evolves over time, not overnight. Further, it is subject to external pressures that are difficult to anticipate, leading to the possibility of plan modification, as necessary. Some strategic planning efforts may not need to include all the steps described. The elements and process described in the next section should be modified depending on context.
Strategic Planning Process
Goals should be big, compelling and fit with the why or purpose of the company. If, when reading the goals being considered, you do not get tingling up and down your spine, they are not compelling enough. If you desire people to be motivated to change it must be inspiring. Above that, the goals undertaken must have a “ no brainer” congruency between them and the purpose of the company. It must be felt.
The first step in the strategic planning process is to address the question “Where are we, today?” This may seem to be rhetorical, but it is not. This is the toughest question. Because, until you come to grips with what is happening and firmly plant your feet, it is very difficult to move in another direction. What is a metaphorical description of how effective, diligent, efficient, and well liked your company is today.
“What do we have to work with?” is an examination of recent history and changing contexts (both internal and external) of the company and organization allows participants to assess the value of current positions. Answering this question includes employee talents, connections and assets and how to leverage the strengths to ameliorate the weak areas.
The second step in the process is answering the questions, “Where do we want to be” and “What would it look like to be there?” As the vision of the organization it must reflect the purpose and values of those involved in the process. It is essential that this step involve all of those who will have a stake in achieving the vision.
The third step in the planning process is the articulation of goals. Goals indicate the intended direction and conditions of wellbeing for the business, and organization and will provide motivations for staff to move forward.
Question, what is one offering or service of the company, which if significantly improved, will move everyone to a higher level of excellence? The answer to this question should be considered as the strategic message and outcome to all stakeholders.
After articulating the vision and determining goals, planners must address what specifically will feel and be different as a result of attaining the goals? What needs to be changed or added and what resources are available to reach these states.
Specific Action steps, projects and tasks must all be directed to reach these goals.
Measuring “doing” is like staying tuned in
How will you know you reached anything?
Strategy development must include specific methods for measuring indicators, and benchmark attainment. Indicators are quantifiable measures of progress. Benchmarks are target levels of performance expressed in measurable terms with specified time frames, against which actual achievement is measured.
Strategic Implementation of Goals
Achieving Goals takes action steps—timelines—and accountability
Goals take a year or longer
Action steps – months
Projects are smaller, weeks
Tasks take days
Planning, along with action, moves you toward achievement. What does planning mean to you?
Or, do you just wing-it?
Plans identify and clarify actions steps to reach goals
Projects are identified to complete action steps
Specific tasks that may be necessary to complete a project are listed
Resources, time, people, money, space, etc., necessary to do what is necessary.
Repeatedly successful people make travel plans for success.
Note that plans, regardless of detail, are not etched into concrete. They are intended to provide initial action steps and plausible projects, and tasks. Others will, in many cases, be added as you proceed.
As tasks and projects are initiated and completed, new information may trigger the need for making a formative shift to improve outcomes. It happens frequently.
- Put on paper, or wall, a Gantt type of flow chart with time frames and responsible Leaders.
- Revisit, rewrite, revisit, rewrite.
- When defining strategies – break them down into smallest chunks and list them and check them off
- Accountability by Coach
- Timelines, and completion data, defined by client, realistic and appropriate to needs.
- Structures – string on the finger, calendar with bells, alarm clock notes everywhere; lists must be highly visible to be effective.
Testing the Implementation.
Check the original objectives
Are they being met by the new strategy?
If not, what would it take to make it so?
Are the resources available to do so?
How Long will it take?
Reschedule new strategy to reach goal
Evaluation after goal is reached.
What could you have done different that would have made the process better, more effective, efficient?
ON time? On Budget?
Were measured outcomes reached or reachable?
No individual rewards.
If Five Languages Appreciation in Workplace is present, how celebrations unfold should be easy.
If not, then be sure to learn them before proceeding. Or you could make it a part of Change.
Rewards – list celebratory events or team rewards for reaching milestones, completing challenging tasks, and major goals.
- Where is the greatest room for improvement?
- What one pressure point, if removed or corrected would help the company grow and operate even more effectively and efficient; where the best and brightest want to work.
Success builds on itself, and must be replicated to be maintained.
Repeated successes foster a success mindset