Dear M & M: My company is about to do a strategic plan to set some goals. Do you have any thoughts? Jim
Dear Jim: Congratulations every company should take a look at their organization annually and do some strategic planning or goal setting. A word of caution. Many times we get carried away and want to fix everything at once. I have seen companies come out of a strategic planning meeting with several things that need fixing with multiple goals. In many cases action plans to achieve these most important goals are not spelled out or planned. Franklin Covey interviewed several companies and found that companies with one or two specific areas or goals to work on will more than likely fix one or two problems. Companies that have three or five goals normally achieve one or two. Companies that have more than five usually achieve none. Fifteen per cent of most people in an organization do not even know what the most important goal the company wants to achieve. Only nineteen per cent feel passionate about the goal. They do not take ownership and feel they have no input or cannot do anything themselves to help the company achieve their goals. According to the study, on average only forty nine per cent of the work hours spent by employees is spent on achieving the goal or the most important thing the company wants to achieve. Strangely, only fifty one per cent say they don’t even know what “they” can do to achieve the most important goals of an organization. Many times we are going about the whole thing wrong. For example, if a company wants to increase sales. The goal is to increase sales by ten per cent in the next week compared to last week’s sales. If we are only watching what sales are we won’t stand a chance to increase sales unless we get lucky? We need to monitor something that we feel will increase sales. We meet with the sales staff and they think if they do 50 sales calls next week they can increase sales by ten per cent. Now we can monitor how many sales calls the sales person actually made and compare the number of sales calls and sales increases or decreases. Now an action plan is put in place that the sales force had a part in developing. Everyone knows what they have to do to meet the goal to increase sales by ten per cent (make fifty sales calls). The sales force was part of the decision process, has buy-in and knows what they can do to effect the goal to increase sales. Weekly meetings are held to see if the salesperson made fifty sales calls and to see if sales increased. Maybe they need to do sixty sales calls, maybe attending a trade show would generate more sales or pushing social media would be a better solution to increase sales by ten per cent. Weekly the action plan needs to be monitored to see if it is the right thing to do to move the goal or increase sales. One final question. Why do you think they have a scoreboard at a ball game? Answer to see whose winning and whose loosing. Develop a score board. Make it easy to read. List the number of sales calls made in one column and sales in the other. That way everyone knows where they are at and if it is working.