As your organization’s digital transformation begins to take hold, you’ll find that many of your...
It’s a new year, and if you haven’t done it already, it’s time to plan for what you want from your business in 2024. Here’s a high-level playbook you can lead your team through to arrive at a group decision for where the organization needs to go, how it will get there, and how we’ll know how it’s doing.
You probably keep a close eye on the market already, and have your leaders share where they see the opportunities, threats, power, and challenges. Align on those as a group and make certain that everyone feels heard; use brainstorming techniques like sticky notes on a real or virtual whiteboard to help get ideas surfaced.
As a leader your job isn’t having the best answers or critiquing the decisions (especially when they reflect your pet projects!), but creating an environment where even uncomfortable ideas can be raised. That’s not to say you won’t have feelings about someone criticizing your work – everyone does. The best leaders can recognize those feelings and see the truth behind them.
The market analysis describes what you’re facing; strategy defines how you’ll manage it. Most practice leaders I speak to faced considerable headwinds in 2023. What will you do differently in 2024? Consider every part of your engagement process, from marketing to sales, delivery to operations. What changes are needed to stay competitive?
You really want your people to make these choices, and work through the compromises that need to happen to get there. Hold them to a high-order goal and support them on their way to a strategy, but resist the natural temptation to step in and make decisions for them. Your team is going to be doing the heavy lifting; they’re more likely to push themselves to achieve a plan they’ve created than one you forced upon them.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Whether you use KPIs, OKRs, or the management framework of the week, you all need a mechanism to determine whether or not we’re on our way to accomplishing our goals and achieving the desired outcomes. Some of that is by committing to the tasks we’ll perform and the output you’ll produce (which your teams control), and some is by measuring the outcomes that should result because of that output (which you don’t control). Both are important to help leaders understand what is and isn’t working throughout the year.
Selecting measurements is where leaders ask a lot of questions of their teams, testing to see if the commitments are adequate and cohesive to achieve the necessary results. The kinds of questions you ask are different depending on the capabilities of the individual leaders in the group. A senior executive may feel micro-managed if you poke your nose in, while a junior one might welcome the visit.
Commitments will be missed. As the cliché goes, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Watch how your people respond to missed commitments. Are they avoiding? Escalating? Blaming? Overwhelmed? Exhausted?
It’s on you and your leaders to recognize these behaviors and emotions and coach your people through them. Every change will push some people out of their comfort zone (including you); it’s up to leaders to help people learn how to grow through the challenges.
Your own techniques serve as the model for the group, so watch yourself carefully. If you rescue your team when they face challenges, you’ll have leaders who are rescuers. If you show your frustration when issues come up… well, you get the idea.
If your organization needs support implementing these ideas, I’m here to help. I leverage thirty years of diverse professional services experience and leadership development to help my clients take their businesses where they need to go.
Schedule a free consultation today and let’s discuss your particular challenges and goals. Together we can tailor a solution specifically for your business.