Strategic planning is a necessary activity if you want your company to communicate its goals externally and internally. For instance, if your objective is to make 2019 your company’s best year ever, but you don’t tell everyone at the company, how do you expect to achieve the goal? If your mission is to outproduce last year’s widgets by 10%, but you haven’t informed the widget department, how will that happen? And, by the way, if your intention is to earn the award for the best boss of 2019 but you haven’t written a strategic plan that outlines all your ambitious goals and key objectives, well, Houston, we have a problem.
If your goals leave people feeling uninspired, stressed out, or over-worked, then they will lack the motivation to complete them.
With courageous leadership comes tremendous responsibility. One of your many jobs is to set the aims for the company and the team, but it doesn’t end there. Those ambitions have to MOTIVATE them to action. If your goals leave people feeling uninspired, stressed out, or over-worked, then they will lack the motivation to complete them.
Goals that motivate have common characteristics worthy of consideration as you plan ahead:
- Clarity. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART). When a goal is clear and specific, people know what needs to be done and what is expected.
- Challenge. We are motivated by achievement, so we’ll judge a goal by how difficult we perceive it to be. If it is too easy, we won’t give it as much attention and energy. However, if it demands us to stretch ourselves in order to achieve the recognition of a job well done, we are more likely to be motivated to excel.
- Commitment. For goal-setting to be effective, the goals must be agreed upon and understood. While this doesn’t mean you negotiate with every employee, there is value in engaging the people working towards the goal.
- Complexity. For highly-complex goals, provide people sufficient time to learn the skills to be successful.
- Feedback. Incorporating feedback into the goal-setting process allows for expectation clarification, necessary adjustment, and personal recognition. In particular, when a goal is long-term in nature, it’s important to set benchmarks that help people gauge their success and see their achievement.
Now you can get to work on that plan!
Once the goals are defined, you need to determine objectives and ways to measure them. Otherwise, you did a lot of work for no reason. The true purpose of creating a strategic plan, communicating your goals, involving your people, setting objectives, and measuring them, is so that in the end, you will have RESULTS. Hopefully, they will amount to the tangibles you set out to achieve.
A strategic plan only happens with exceptional communication and clear goal-setting. Challenging your leadership skills with activities like this is how you grow into your position and how you help your organization grow.
Have you made a plan for 2019? How will you hold people accountable?
How will you hold YOURSELF accountable?