Imagine that you are a leader. Everybody in your immediate team is agreed on the end goal. They know where they are heading and when they should reach the destination. This is the ‘What’. People can describe the following picture of success.
You must now chart the strategies for reaching the goal. This is the ‘How’. Let's explore three steps towards making this happen.
1) You can clarify your team’s strategies for success.
You can clarify these either by yourself, with your senior managers or with a wider group of key people in the business.
Imagine you have chosen the latter option. You are taking this route to give people a sense of ownership and also educate them about the bigger picture.
As you are ultimately responsible, however, you will make the final decisions on the way forward.
Gather the team together and remind people of the picture of success. Then invite them to tackle the exercise called Successful Strategies. Bearing in mind the team’s goals, invite people to brainstorm on the theme of:
The three key things we can do to give
ourselves the greatest chance of success are:
One approach is to give people 10 minutes to write their ideas on Post-It Notes. They are to put one idea per Post-It, but can write as many ideas as they wish.
Each person is then to go up in turn and post these ideas on a flip chart. They are to explain each idea and give concrete examples. Continue until everybody has finished.
Move onto the next stage. Looking at the ideas, sort these into themes. Discuss what has emerged and agree on your key strategies. If possible, settle on a maximum of three or four themes.
So the flip chart may look something like the following.
2) You can flesh out your team’s strategies for success.
Now flesh out the action plan. Invite interested parties – those who know the topics intimately – to do in-depth work on the three strategies.
They can break these down into tactics and actions. Invite these work groups to present back their suggestions and, if all is agreed, you sign-off the strategic plan.
So the overall plan may look something like this.
3) You can invite people to present their road maps for implementing the strategy and achieving the picture success.
People now need to translate the strategies into action. One approach is to invite each team in the organisation to clarify its road map for delivering its contribution to achieving the picture of success.
You can start by communicating the specific goals and strategies. Then outline the organisation's overall road map for achieving the goals. When doing this it is useful:
* To start from the destination and work backwards.
* To outline the milestones – the things that must be delivered – along the road towards achieving the goals.
* To bring the road map to life by giving quotes you would like to hear different groups of people saying along the road.
So the organisation's overall road map may look something like the following.
Communicate the overall road map. Then invite people to do three things.
* Each team is to create their road map that contributes towards achieving the organisation's goals.
* Each person within each team is to make clear contracts about their contribution to achieve the team's goals.
* Each team will present their road map to the whole organisation.
People will then be clear on how everybody is contributing towards achieving the organisation's picture of success.
People can then get on with the work. Create time every month for each team to present:
* The successes we have achieved in the past month.
* The successes we plan to deliver in the next month.
* The challenges we face, our solutions for tackling these and the support we would like to achieve success.
If appropriate, make sure the strategies are still the most likely ones to achieve success. Be prepared to re-affirm or change them. But then keep people on track.
There are many ways to involve people in shaping the strategies. This article has explored one approach. It gives them a sense of ownership within parameters and, done properly, it works.
You can then give people the support they need to deliver the picture of success.