When you align your leadership team against a well-defined business plan you can take advantage of opportunities faster. That matters especially right now as leaders prepare their business for post-pandemic success. When resources are scarce, and growth is essential, the entire organization must be rowing in the same direction. Lack of clarity around vision, objectives, and key projects slows businesses down. When businesses lack that clarity resources are squandered on conflicts, pet projects, and hobbies. So, where do you start? It begins with your business plan. In many organizations, the business plan is a document built with great effort in the 4th quarter, approved by leadership and the board, and rarely referenced again. As a result, the business lacks focus month to month and quarter to quarter. The effective business plan provides the focus for the organization and is a crucial opportunity for the leader to set priorities for the organization. And from those priorities should flow a business plan for each division in the business.
Build a business plan that provides clarity
Ideally, the leader sets the tone for the business; their priorities and vision for the company is what aligns everyone else. So what key areas should the leader identify?
- Why does this business exist?
- What purpose does it serve?
- How does it impact the world?
- What will the company look like in three years?
- How much revenue and profit will the company generate?
- Who will your customers be, and how will they be impacted?
- What business results will you measure?
- Which outcomes matter for your business?
- What activities will you measure to drive success?
- What directions, philosophies, and values will you set for the business?
- Who are your ideal clients, and how will you attract them?
- What will you do and what won’t you do to grow the business?
- What are the primary business-building projects or programs do you need to complete?
- Which projects will help you bend the revenue curve up to grow your business faster?
- What infrastructure projects do you need to complete to achieve your objectives and execute your strategies?
Embed the plan throughout your business
The clarity that the leader builds with the plan is crucial to align the leadership team. When business owners define these five areas well, it helps everyone identify the areas of focus for their division or department. And that is the next step. Importantly, with the leader’s plan well defined, each member of the leadership team must build the plan for their areas of responsibility. And every item in their plan should tie directly back to one of the objectives, strategies, and action plans in the leader’s plan. Building this discipline into your planning process ensures that pet projects, hobbies, and non-essential work don’t creep into the business. And depending on the size of your organization, this can cascade further down through the organization. The deeper you take the plan in the organization, the more alignment you will have. Not only will you grow faster at a lower expense, but you will also build employee engagement.
Once the plan is in place, the leadership team can take the time to congratulate themselves on a significant accomplishment for the business. And they cannot stop there. It’s where most business plans fail. Therefore, the next level of discipline to align your leadership team is the monthly business review. And this isn’t an all-day meeting to dissect the issues in the business. That’s a different meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to report out on progress against objectives and action plans.
Ideally, each member of the team has updated their progress in a shared database so leaders can review them before the meeting. During the actual session, leaders can update the group on progress or challenges in getting things done or hitting their numbers. And where they may be struggling, they can ask other members of the team for help. As a result, leaders gain insights into each area of the business and can prepare for upcoming events more effectively.
Aligned leadership teams win
When business owners align the leadership team, revenues will grow faster. Challenges will be fewer. Most importantly, the benefits of that alignment flow through the entire business. The old stovepipe approach to running your business will simply not work in today’s environment. Factionalism and feuds between departments do nothing but hold everyone back. Intentional leaders will pull their team together through a clearly defined business plan and check on progress against that plan at least monthly. And those leaders with this in place will emerge from our current crisis faster and will have the best chance of hitting their numbers this year.
If you have questions on how to build a plan for your business and align your leadership team for success, set up a meeting for us to discuss.