So the discussion tends to go like this with business leaders…..
Q. So have you got a plan in place of where you want to take the business
A. Yes, we’ve talked about it a fair bit and know where we want to be.
Q. So, can we see it?
A. We haven’t written it down in one place but we know what it is.
Q. So, have you communicated it to the wider staff?
A. No not yet.
One of the most common frustrations that staff voice during engagement sessions is the lack of clarity around the direction of the business. Whilst not all of your staff are interested in seeing the company’s plans, many who desire career progression want to hear about opportunities for the business to grow which may in turn become opportunities and career development for themselves. Staff want to be taken on a journey. A journey is more exciting than the day to day.
Companies have moved away from the 50 page business plans and typically set a few high level strategic objectives which are SMART enough and comprehensive enough to effect the growth required.
Quite simply, we tend to look on a value map at the potential impact on the business in terms of revenue and profit growth. We then look at the feasibility i.e. how possible is it to achieve this? And immediately you can see that most of the current activities fall into the low impact quadrants. Basically many companies spend lots of time doing stuff that is never really going to impact the bottom line. “To Do” lists grow out of control. This is a common reason why many leaders have a 90% operational focus and why several of them and their businesses fail.
We then have the clients who have a strategy in place. In many cases, they have no clear plan to deliver it and simply issue out the strategic objectives to members of a leadership team hoping that they will deliver the solution required. In most cases this approach fails.
Leaders across sectors are typically not trained in strategy or in action planning; so many make it up as they go along or hide from it at the risk of getting it wrong. The leaders tend to know what they need to do but they do not know how to do it; so essentially they need some simple facilitation.
The hr strategy and plan are the starting point. Once you have a strategy you can ensure the other fundamentals of fast growth that we have listed in this series are embedded. An example would be that once we have our plan set, we know what we need to do, we know the resources we need and then we can question the organisational or operating model to ensure it’s reflective of what we need in order to deliver the strategy. Equally, roles and responsibilities can be updated to ensure people take full accountability for their strategic actions.
This series has covered the “Six Fundamentals of Fast Growth“. This model does assume that your products and services are of interest to the market, there’s a demand, are of quality and are competitively pricing based on the offering.
These fundamentals are inter-dependent so think of it like a linked chain; when one piece is broken or absent the chain falls apart. So before you decide to have a strategy you really need to be willing to take the time to work on these other areas. It sounds like a huge amount of work but typically the basics can be assessed and a plan put in place, to embed them, over a period of a few weeks and not months. However, having engaged staff and embedded values etc, are ongoing requirements as culture is like a diet; if you slip back into bad habits the good work can be undone.
So put the fundamentals in place and go into advanced growth.
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