Leadership Trevolution Blog


Blog Entries by Tag: Strategy

Aligning Your Team through Strategic Planning

Published on: Jun 25, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Strategy, Organizational Leadership, Goals, Productivity, Organizations

Strategic planning processes begin at the organizational level. Those who can see the big picture develop strategies that set direction. They also develop goals that the entire organization will be expected to achieve. The farther a person is from senior leadership the greater the risk that he or she ignores these goals. Many people, whom I have asked when working with large organizations, indicate that they feel little or no responsibility for corporate goals. Beyond that, they also indicate they do not believe their actions affect the outcome of those goals in any real way. 

If most people who are not senior leaders in an organization ignore corporate goals, what is the potential that they will be achieved? There is a perspective problem. Perhaps that is why many managers assume corporate goals will not change much each year. Most people are ignoring them. 

When you make progress toward corporate goals, it will be because enough individuals are aligned with them to contribute. Individual contributions accumulate, resulting in collective success.  The primary place that individuals in a company can connect to corporate goals is through the work group. 

In many organizations, managers are expected to ensure individuals set goals that connect to a corporate goal.  This approach attempts to align individuals, making some impact, but it misses the opportunity to connect the person to the organization through the team. 

As a team leader, you connect the team to the organization when you set team goals. Team goals should align with corporate goals, but team members will be more closely connected to team goals than corporate goals. Team actions to achieve team goals complete the team’s strategic plan while aligning the team within the organization. As a result, individuals are contributing to corporate goals.

 Your plan should have these three attributes: 

Strategic 

Your plans should be strategic. That is, the plan defines how you will make progress in areas you are not achieving desired results. It should provide measurement to gauge progress. If the goals in your plan are achieved you should make significant progress as you support corporate goals.

 Innovative

 Innovation has become a buzzword as everyone strives to achieve it. As it relates to your team’s strategic plan, it means you plan to take different actions than you have taken in the past. Current performance is a result of past actions. If you want to perform at a different level, it will take a different set of actions.

 Implemented 

Implement your plan as your team members set individual goals that support team goals and assume responsibility for their completion. Ensure the individual actions that support individual, team, and corporate goals are included in team members’ daily activities. Set this expectation and check in so you know how they are progressing toward their goals. Monitor team goals, as they should reflect the achievement of individual team member goals.

 When you, as a team leader, align your team with corporate goals through a team strategic planning process, you will effectively fulfill your responsibility within the organization. This positive outcome will benefit you, your team, and the company.

Evidence of Buy-in

Published on: May 29, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Productivity, Strategy, Organizations

Buy-in Help

Leaders value buy-in to their team or organization’s direction. The assurance that those you lead have bought-in brings a leader reassurance. It gives hope to the leader that he or she actually influences the direction of the team or organization towards success. To know that those you lead have bought-in, you have to know what buy-in looks like. 

If you want to evaluate whether those you lead have bought-in, there are three observations that will provide insight. 

  1. Team members share responsibility 

Assuming responsibility for results that support the defined direction is a key indicator that team members have bought-in. Shared responsibility can be observed in individual and group decision making. When individuals make decisions that support the direction of the team or organization without requiring feedback from a leader or co-worker, they are expressing buy-in. The team has bought in when discussions, reports, and group decisions intentionally drive for results that direct movement down the defined path. 

  1. Team members support one another 

When a people buy-into a direction that results in shared responsibility, they support one another in getting there. Individualism goes “out the window.” When you, as a leader, observe people supporting one another because they recognize the cumulative result of their work, they have bought into the direction of the team as well as the organization. 

  1. Team members contributing resources 

Contributing the minimum or the basic requirements does not reflect buy-in. People express buy-in with contribution beyond the basic expectations.  When a leader observes people exceeding expectations, and at times acting sacrificially, they are bought-in. Resources can include time, expertise, budget, or space. 

Buy-in’s benefits are not difficult to measure short or long-term. In the short-term strategies are successful as measured by goal achievement at all levels. In the long term, vision becomes reality by creating value, the visible evidence of sustainability. The leaders challenge becomes defining direction and communicating it in an organization designed to engender buy-in. Do the people in your organization and on your team have a clear direction to buy into?

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