Here we are again. It’s January, the month many organizations kick off their newly developed strategic goals. Do you remember the passion and excitement you experienced during your strategic planning retreat; and how motivated everyone in the room became as you finalized your new set of strategic goals? Now, it’s time to get everyone in the organization just as enthusiastic, committed, and focused as you and your team were at the retreat.
During planning retreats, I always remind groups that planning is the easy part. Executing your goals is where everyone earns their keep. Unless you work with a staff of psychic mind-readers, you will need to convey the motivations, justifications, and benefits of pursuing your new strategic goals.
Many (maybe most) of your staff members and volunteers were not at the planning retreat, so it is incumbent on you make them feel as if they are an equal part of the planning process, and not simply the downstream recipient of another stack of lofty goals.
Here are a questions to answer and points to consider as you venture into the new year:
- What formal strategic plan training do you have in place for “all employees”?
- Keep everyone involved and informed – not just a select few.
- How will you address the cross-departmental impact of each goal?
- Are departmental and individual key performance metrics aligned to your new strategic goals? What changes are necessary to ensure realignment?
- Is management and the board committed to a quality program, or at least some fundamental continuous process improvement (CPI) methods? Remember, your staff may be required to accomplish more with less. So, an agency-wide commitment to improving processes and workflows will go a long way to help you execute your new strategic goals.
- Remember – the purpose of a strategic goal is to “change the business”, which may require you to invoke some change-management principles within your organization.
At the beginning of last year, I published an article on goal execution. Here are some highlights from that article:
Understand and capitalize on your expertise.
Our strategic planning processes is closely aligned with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which requires a company to understand and assess their Core Competencies; which are your organization’s areas of greatest expertise, and strategically important to fulfilling your mission. Now, you need to look beyond “I’ll volunteer for that role”, and seek the individuals in (staff or board) who’s expertise, passion, and resources align with your core competencies and your vision. Put the right people in the right roles goes a long way.
Don’t let passion get in your way.
We can become myopic if we get too passionate about a certain way of doing things, whether at the strategic or process level. Everyone needs to be able to put on a thick layer of skin, to allow the organization to question the validity of everything we do, why we do it, and what value it really brings to our customers and the business. This is at the core of Continuous Process Improvement.
Continuous Process Improvement.
Okay, so now I’ve unleashed the dreaded Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), bat from the cave of scary business terms. Fear not, CPI is your friend. Without continuous improvement of your current processes, you will find it extremely difficult to take on new activities successfully. Every company has a person (regardless of role or position) that has the guts and passion to drive process improvement across departmental lines. Find that person, give them the authority to lead change, and reward everyone who successfully improves their processes.
Your strategic plan is your guide.
Use your strategic plan as your litmus test for all activities and decisions. This allows you to remain focused on your vision and the real tasks at hand. Don’t let the noise distract you from your desired future. Use your staff and board meetings to focus on where you are headed and what is working, and less on the negative; you will increase motivation, and find your goal execution increases across the board, not just in pockets.
These are just a few tips to help you navigate your plan and have a successful planning year.
As always, if you have any questions about how you address your strategic plan, please contact Ron Woodbury at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (435) 275-2978.
- Grow Your Nonprofit Agency - November 8, 2018
- Time to Ditch the Weekend Planning Retreat? - August 15, 2018
- Getting Everyone Involved In Your Success - January 20, 2018
- Time for a Strategic Alignment? - December 19, 2017
- Are Your Goals Creating Change? - November 29, 2017
- Outsource The Board of Directors - November 12, 2017
- A Better Action Plan - October 28, 2017
- Why Do You Do What You Do? - October 20, 2017
- Uncovering Your Agency’s Personality - April 17, 2017
- Communicating Your Strategic Plan - March 7, 2017