In our experience, companies often fail to effectively plan at all levels of the organization, and are surprised when they do not achieve expected results.
Many companies spend time developing long-term plans at the executive level; these plans are then cascaded down to VP’s, Directors and sometimes managers. Seldom do the plans at this level make it to the frontline, and if they do, they are too high level to provide any meaningful direction. At Lead 2 Perform, we encourage our clients to follow a simple methodology to create alignment throughout the organization.
1. Executive Guidance Document
The first step is to encourage leaders at the VP or Director level to develop a simple executive guidance document and share this with their respective teams. The executive guidance document serves to:
- Outline the business focus for the year, converting these concepts into key messaging that should be understood and repeated throughout the business unit or department.
- Break the executive guidance into clear ‘buckets’ that have high level lagging indicators.
- Provide overarching guidance. For example, a VP may include a 10% reduction of incidents with ‘steer’ that the team should focus on near miss, and driving.
This document really provides a clear outline of ‘what’ needs to happen over the next year, but it leaves the ‘how’ up to the team to deliver.
2. Annual Business Plan Development
Armed with an executive guidance document, the managers/team leads can develop annual plans that have 3-5 major goals that will deliver 80% of the expected outcomes. In addition, each of their team members can also develop annual plans that roll up and impact the various ‘buckets’ that have been identified. Each of the plans will have 3-5 goals with 2-3 strategies that are identified as ways to deliver the goals. The strategies are measured with leading indicators.
3. Performance Measurement & Scorecarding
Finally, with many clearly articulated individual business plans, the team can work together to develop a scorecard with the most important measures from each of the plans. This scorecard document becomes a monthly review document that shifts meeting conversation from activity based to strategic and results based.
The key to success? Create alignment by engaging all levels of the organization in the planning process; this engagement creates ownership and accountability.
In the coming months, I will break down this overview into more detail, including the executive guidance document, annual business plan development, performance measurement, and scorecarding. These tools are critical for individuals in the organization to clearly understand ‘what good looks like’.
At Lead 2 Perform we believe everyone wants to do a good job, however if ‘what good looks like’ is not clear at every level of the organization there is little chance that there will be good alignment with everyone delivering on the right goals.
Brent Olynyk - Partner, Lead 2 Perform