How To Boost Success In Your Long-term Planning Process

By Bob Prosen

First and foremost, does the Company Have the Right Strategy and Top Objectives, Supported by the Entire Senior Management Team? Start here. If there is any uncertainty in this area, everything else is at risk. Your strategy must provide clear direction that’s easily understood by employees, shareholders and customers. Ultimately you have to achieve your profitability objectives. If your strategy doesn’t produce sufficient profits, then you must either reduce your cost structure or develop a more profitable strategy. Either way, take specific actions. Don’t wait for something good to happen. Determine what’s wrong and fix it or get out.

Next leaders must increase accountability to get the results they need. My advice is to start by defining your role. Simply put, the leader’s job is to ensure every member of the team wins, and winning is defined as meeting the organization’s top objectives.

Here is the seven-step formula you can use to create accountability in your long-term planning process and achieve extraordinary results in any organization:

Step 1: Establish the organizations top three objectives . This means the significant few, not the important many. Objectives must be clear, concise, measurable and obtainable. Notice I didn’t say easy!

Step 2: Assign each team member his or her respective objectives. Remember, when combined they must allow the organization to achieve its top objectives.

Step 3: Ask each team member what he or she needs to win. To help people win, leaders must remove the roadblocks that stand in the way. Do this by having each team member identify a maximum of three things they need to accomplish each objective.

Step 4: Agree on what the leader will do to help. Meet individually with each team member to clarify the roadblocks and agree on what’s needed to win and who will be responsible for making it happen. In all likelihood, the leader will assume some responsibility. Why? Because you’re responsible to people, not for them.

Step 5: Follow up. Schedule a 30-minute monthly update using a standard color-coded reports. Results at or above the plan are in green and areas behind plan are in red. Focus the conversation on how green results were achieved or if results are red, what will be done to achieve green status, by when and if any help is needed.

Step 6: Share lessons learned. Hold quarterly meetings with the entire team to discuss lessons learned, identify critical roadblocks and make specific offers to help any team member behind plan.

Step 7: Reward results. When objectives are achieved, e nsure that rewards are disproportionate and highly visible. Those who achieve the most get rewarded the most. It’s just that simple. Ensure that people at the bottom are either improving their performance or being moved out. No one with poor performance gets to remain on the bottom for more than a year.

Accountable leaders work diligently to maintain company-wide focus on the achievement of management’s most critical business goals and to see these goals become results. Applying accountability in the long-term planning process ensures that your goals are aligned with company goals.

Bob Prosen is the best selling author of Kiss Theory Good Bye: Five Proven Ways to Get Extraordinary Results in Any Company. His outstanding how-to book has hit #1 on Amazon for best-selling and investment book, and was awarded the USA Book News Best Books 2006 Award for Best Management Book, Silver medalist by the Independent Publishers Association and Foreword Magazine’s Silver award for Book of the Year.



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