Your strategic plan should be your company’s living blueprint guiding today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future – not a shelf ornament.
Rather than a passive and difficult-to-digest document, a vibrant strategic plan can engage and galvanize your work force. It should help people see their individual role in your organization’s vision, mission and goals.
Once your company’s strategic plan is shaped and annual operating goals are developed, here are ways you can track progress and have fun engaging employees.
- First, develop an easy-to-use dashboard to track your strategic plan and annual operating goals. There are electronic tracking tools available, but simple tracking spreadsheets also do the job, as long as someone is responsible for updating the grid.
- Use green, yellow and red to quickly show progress (green) stall or holding pattern (yellow) and no progress (red). Use this regularly at your board of director meetings, staff meetings, meetings with direct reports as well as one-on-one employee meetings to facilitate meaningful conversations about how your team is tracking.
- For red scores, ask your team to help solve the problem – no finger pointing. For example, if you are lagging on sales, ask your team to get to the root of the problem – the “whys” – and ask them to develop solutions and deadlines for monitoring change.
- For green scores, celebrate milestones at staff meetings, and send companywide e-mails thanking staff for great work.
- For yellow scores, assess why progress has stalled – or if the goal is on hold, determine whether the goal should be removed or revised. Due to rapidly changing circumstances in the marketplace, sometimes goals should be re-evaluated mid-year.
- Publish successes in a variety of internal and external communications venues, including social media. (More about how to support your strategic plan through social media in a separate article.)
- To keep your strategic plan and annual goal process vibrant, discuss your organization’s goal achievements, milestones and shortfalls at least on a quarterly basis, and preferably on a monthly basis.
- At the end of the fourth quarter, use the dashboard to help shape an annual report – noting your organization’s major accomplishments for the year. Then, host a celebration and get ready to begin a new year!