I’ve meet a lot of business leaders who have a business plan in place but they have it in the wrong place. If your business plan is all in your head, then it is likely going nowhere. You must develop the plan with the right group of people within your organization, and then make sure that everyone knows that plan. The more people you have working “On” (versus “in”) the business the greater success your organization will achieve. We call it the Strategic Quotient, which ranks from one to ten (ten being the best.) the level of understanding of the mission and strategy across the organization. If your company ranks 8-9, then most of the people in your organization know the plan. Many organizations rank only one or two because the plan has not been shared.
A key to developing and communicating your business plan is to include the right people on your planning team. Obviously, you can’t do it all yourself. It is important to assemble a planning team that will be able to develop the plan and then help execute it with all employees. Here’s a quick guide to help you whittle it down to the right people for your planning team:
- Each department should be represented.
- Optimum number is five to eight people.
- Include those whom we call the “Get-its.” These are the strategic thinkers in your organization.
- Keep in mind that you will be sharing confidential information. There must be a level of trust.
- Include key individuals who will help in plan execution.
- Identify those “young stars” who are the leaders of the future.
- Consider any collateral damage you might create by leaving someone off the team. Talk to those left off the team individually about their role in the organization and planning process.
- It is important that all employees know they will be part of the department planning process.
- Board members typically are not part of the planning team in a “for profit’ organization. The Board’s job is to challenge and approve the plan and hold the team accountable. It is the team’s job to develop and execute the plan.
- Board members for non-profits can bring value being on the planning team.
Once you finalize your team, announce the launch of the planning process to your organization. Let everyone know that you will be communicating with them and looking for their input throughout the process. Make sure the plan doesn’t just stay in your head. Make it a “living” document all employees are engaged in. Now that you have your planning team selected, next month we will discuss what should be in your business plan.
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