The Solution Starts With You
Last week we took a closer look at some people's negative gut reactions to the words "strategic planning." If you thought, "Wait! We don't do that! We don't think that way! We just want to know where we're going and how to get there!" — congratulations! What you actually have is a communication challenge, not an insoluble problem.
Begin by understanding that every single person you work with has a unique perspective on the organization. At the risk of sounding obvious, it's in everyone's best interest that those perspectives be aligned if you're all going to move forward. Take the time to talk to people and ask questions about their perspectives. Pay particular attention to any answers that surprise you.
If you think you don't have the time to do this, don't be surprised if people start polishing their résumés. Organizations whose leaders contemplate major changes without first getting significant buy-in from their employees are doomed to failure, according to John Kotter, emeritus professor at the Harvard Business School and author of Leading Change.
If you have a healthy organizational culture, people will be unafraid to share their perspectives. You will learn a lot while at the same time instilling trust in your workforce. Trust leads to loyalty and a happy, productive team.
Now you're ready to begin planning the way forward. Next week, we'll look at ways to make a strategic planning process less tedious and more fun, engaging, and effective.