At this point in the year, we should be slowing down and carving out time to engage in a planning process for the year ahead. This process should involve reflection on the successes, frustrations and failures of this year, as well as focus on the result and activity priorities that need to be in place moving forward to achieve business objectives.
We often think of strategy as the purview of leadership or senior management. However, great companies such as Google, Disney and the Four Seasons engage employees at all levels to gather valuable insights from each area of business operations.
Part of the role of leadership is to raise the level of people’s gaze and get them engaged in critical thinking around their work and how it is connected to the business as a whole. When you involve team members in the planning process, you demonstrate the value of their role and their voice. That level of engagement encourages greater participation and involvement in the success of the business, improving their personal productivity.
If you are looking for how you can facilitate a productive planning process, and perhaps unsure of where to start, we wanted to provide some ideas to generate dialogue around the strategy you need in place to fulfil business objectives. In our work, strategy is the alignment of the outputs and objectives; the capabilities and resources available; and the opportunities and challenges the environment provides. We firmly believe that employees can provide insights, different perspectives, and ideas to inspire a constructive dialogue
Build an agenda around your planning session to include the following:
To ensure a fruitful dialogue over the course of the session, it will be important to consider whether your team has what Harvard Business school professor Amy Edmondson calls psychological safety; a group culture that creates a “sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.” Google has done significant research demonstrating that psychological safety is a key differentiator in the success of teams. You want to be sure you have created a space conducive to constructive dialogue.
We believe that engaging employees in the planning process will help drive results in your business. Engagement will foster greater communication and connection across your team over the long term by connecting employees to business objectives and the difference you make in your client’s lives.