As a business owner or a department head, do you have a strategy for your team? How successful are you at achieving your strategy year over year? What if I said you would be more successful if you did less?
One of the greatest pitfalls I see companies fall into when executing their strategic plan is trying to do too much at once. After going through a strategic brainstorming session, there are so many great ideas on the table. A five-year vision is developed, then the two-year strategic objectives, and finally the tactical initiatives they wish to accomplish that year. Once nicely laid out on a board or in a three-ring binder with page protectors and full-color pages, leaders begin assigning team members to champion each of the tactical initiatives. After receiving their assignments, everyone goes their own separate ways until next year.
Assigning initiatives and executing them simultaneously leaves the team disjointed. It can cause the team to feel they can’t get the support they need to achieve their initiative. If you are trying to execute a strategic vision in a department or small company, I would recommend having the entire team focus on one tactical initiative. Have everyone support that goal until it has reached a point of sustainability, and then move to the next initiative. Here are the benefits of focusing on them one at time:
The person responsible gets the support they need. If everyone is focused on the same goal, then there is no lack of support. The leader of the initiative is able to get necessary resources and responses. How often have you asked someone whom you don’t have authority over for support, but due to their own workload, they are unable to assist you? I see this a lot in volunteer organizations where the team is stretched thin. Everyone is focused on their own verticals and can’t bring their head up long enough to see others’ needs. If all verticals are united in one goal, then the chances of realizing that goal increase.
Gain momentum and team work. With each initiative that reaches the point of sustainability, there is momentum gained. Excitement builds as the team accomplishes goals and is successful; this drives the motivation to achieve the next goal.
Priorities are clear. When you have five initiatives going at once, which is the priority? When the priority is clearly defined and someone is championing the goal at the bottom of the list, what support do they get? How likely are they to be successful with the leftover resources? By focusing on one initiative at a time, it becomes everyone’s top priority.
If you are setting the strategy for a larger organization, then you probably don’t want 100 people focused on the same goal. However, these principles can still apply. Don’t have so many initiatives going at once that chaos ensues and goals begin conflicting with one another. Pick a few key initiatives, get those off the ground, and once you have successes there, move on to the next set of initiatives.
Having a united focus allows each goal to be achieved more quickly because of the intense focus. Once that occurs, a smaller group can maintain what work is left as the larger team moves on to the next goal. By the end of the year, each initiative will have been achieved with more quality results. As a by-product a stronger team should have emerged as well.
Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.