As another year draws to a close, many people begin to consider New Year’s Resolutions.
Resolutions are certainly a noble idea, but are often forgotten a few months into the new year. You will be a more effective leader if you use this time to seriously consider a real plan for the coming year.
Set your team up for success with these eight steps.
1. Articulate a clear vision for your team. If nothing stood in your way, what would you like to see your team accomplish one year, five years, or even 10 years in the future? Your vision should be clear, succinct, and even a little audacious.
2. Clearly define your team’s mission. As a team, what do you do and why do you do it? Make sure every team member clearly understands that mission and how they make that mission happen. A clear mission statement that is embraced by every member of the team is the glue that binds a group of people into a cohesive team.
3. Plainly state a set of basic values your team operates by. This values statement should underpin everything your team does.
4. Identify your key stakeholders. Who provides the goods and services necessary for your team’s success? Who has a vested interest in that success?
5. Define problems that can get in the way of accomplishing the team’s mission. What bumps and roadblocks will hinder or prevent your success? Define these bumps and roadblocks in three categories: what you can control, what you can’t completely control but can influence, and what you can’t control and must find ways to live with.
6. Set realistic, measurable goals with clear objectives. Ensure your goals are specifically linked to the mission. If they aren’t, why are they goals? Define the steps necessary to accomplish those goals. Those steps are the objectives.
7. Ensure each goal has a champion, a completion date, and a definite way to measure success. Don’t make measurements any more complex than necessary. Measurement should not become a full-time job.
8. Have a clear method for tracking your team’s progress toward achieving your plan. Again, don’t make this complex.
Once you completed the plan, use it! Make it part of your everyday activities. Remember, if the leader doesn’t embrace a clear vision, mission, and goals, no one else will either.
A real strategic plan isn’t just a resolution to do better next year. It’s a roadmap defining a path to greater success.