Managers and employees often complain that they are not certain of the direction of their organization.
Surprisingly, this problem is not unique. Many executives fail to create a unified direction for their employees and, if they do create it, they fail to let employees “own” it.
It is important that all levels of Sr. Management present a unified statement of Vision/Mission. Misaligned statements lead to more confusion among employees rather than direct them to a common future/purpose.
Vision should state what the future of organization looks like. Mission is a statement of what the organization should be working towards. Each word in these statements should have specific meaning and any executive or manager in the organization should be able to clearly communicate this meaning in terms of their own functional department.
Vision/Mission statements should inform 2-3 Objectives for each functional department in the organization. These Objectives must be SMART. SMART Objectives allow for ownership of goals that can be tied to Key Performance Indicators for individuals and organization.
Objectives cannot exist without Strategies. It is good practice to have SMART Objectives but without clarifying how you will accomplish them, they become irrelevant. Strategies can be further broken into Tactics that provide detail plan needed to accomplish SMART Objectives.
Employees should use functional SMART Objectives to develop their own Objectives at a tactical level. For each employee, at least 2-3 SMART Objectives must be created. These Objectives should be documented and evaluated as part of annual performance appraisal. All Objectives should be aligned directly with functional Objectives. Also, employees should have at least one Objective that speaks to how they will improve their department/company.
Employees should develop their own SMART Objectives, and their managers should review these statements for strategic alignment. Objectives should not be assigned by management to employees. If Sr. Management decides to “assign” Objectives to employees; employees no longer “own” the results.*
Beyond the creation of Vision/Mission to Objectives to Strategies to Tactics, it is very important to ensure that all employees have a complete set of DIRECTIONS for the year. No one should be in doubt of what they are expected to do.
This work is very much part of Annual Business Planning process. Functional departments must allocate resources to plan at least one day where the entire team comes together to understand where the business is headed and what they need to do to “WIN”.
Pre-work can be assigned to employees to ensure that everyone is informed and prepared for the day. A guest lecturer can also help get things started with insights from the “outside” and set the stage for innovative discussion during workshops set up to allow each employee to draft their individual objectives. The day should end with a celebration of the knowledge and team-work accomplished. Business Planning now becomes every employees’ responsibility because they own a part of it.
After this exercise no one should complain about the direction of their company and how each employee is connected to it.
- Executive presentation with a demonstrated alignment of company direction
- Process to link company direction to individual objectives
- Project Plan/Calendar for preparation with milestones
- Performance Appraisal process
- One day set aside for planned workshops and innovative lectures
*Proof of this is well documented in Chapter 3: Commitment and Consistency of book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini.
Kiran Sohi’s career has focused on leading companies to success by enabling effective decision-making. While her passion is strategy and technology, her work spans a number of corporate strategy disciplines including product development, process design, marketing and financial forecasting.
Prior to finding OPEN WRX Consulting, Kiran was a business consultant at CIBC and Innovapost, where her clients included Canada Post and Purolator. She also had the pleasure of working as a strategist for NBA, Kraft, Samsung and Travelex. Visit openwrxconsulting.com for more info.