2020 is sure to be an interesting and busy year! Not only is it a leap year, but we also have the Summer Olympics to look forward to, a presidential election, and countless other events sure to make things exciting. How best to proceed and ensure the focus remains on the goals of your business through it all?
With more distractions than one can imagine, there is no time like the present to take a few moments to look ahead and set an intention or vision of what you want for your team, department, or business in terms of accomplishment, results, and outcomes.
Next, walk through what we call in our “Change Management: Building Resilience” classes the “4Ps”: Purpose – Picture – Plan – Part. What follows is a “How to” guide for walking through this process to ensure your 2020 vision is as clear as they come!
PURPOSE: First, lean into and explore the WHY? of your vision. Why did you pick this vision? Why are these accomplishments significant? Why are these results the right results for your business? Being able to articulate answers to these kinds of questions will help as you communicate your vision to your team, department, and the organization as a whole. In essence, you are anticipating and answering the question of “Why” people should buy into your vision.
If you have a leadership team, making sure they also can speak to the “Why” in a consistent manner. Any time communication about the organization’s future is shared, consistency in the messaging makes all the difference in terms of audience understanding and acceptance. When managers have different interpretations, explanations, or takeaways, it leads to confusion and a lack of buy-in, and understandably so.
PICTURE: What does success look like? Yes, get out a piece of paper and draw what today looks like in terms of the current status of the team, department, or organization. Is it hectic and disorganized and your vision is harmony and collaboration? Alternatively, is the team doing ok, achieving moderate results and you are optimistic for gangbuster-level results in the coming year? Whatever you “picture” in your mind, draw it out – no one else needs to see it quite yet. Yes, I know you do not usually draw, and yes, stick figures are totally acceptable!
This activity is designed to help you get that picture in your mind out and on paper and will help you further define it and explain it to others. If you have a leadership team on which you are relying to help carry out this vision with their teams, then there’s an additional step before moving forward: Once you’ve shared with them your “Purpose” noted above, invite them to draw a picture as described above, based on their understanding of the vision you’ve set forth.
The fun part is having everyone share their pictures as a way of calibrating whether you all are on the same page, or worlds apart. This activity is critical in ensuring your management team understands and has time to process and discuss questions and concerns related to leading their teams under this new vision. Moving forward too quickly and while members of the management team are not “on board” is a surefire way to short circuit your success.
Assuming everyone agrees and understands where you are headed, it is still not quite time to go primetime with your vision. One more step before doing so will help set the stage for success – having a PLAN.
PLAN: With your management team in sync, it is time to explore ideas for getting from here (Current day) to there (that picture of success as of December 31, 2020)? This step helps put actionable steps in place to help everyone understand what needs to happen for this vision to become a reality. A high-level discussion that identifies key “To Do” items by teams or departments, and ways groups should work together, are good places to start. There are many ways to go about this; however, I like the RACI model that explores any project or task from the perspective of answering these questions:
- R = Who is responsible for a part of this [project/task]? This could be one or many people, or one or many teams.
- A = Who is ultimately accountable for the outcome of this project or task? For clarity of purpose and effective decision-making, there is only one person, whether it be a team leader or the CEO her/himself.
- C = Who should be consulted before decisions are made or action is taken? This element takes into consideration understanding your parameters concerning independent decision-making. In other words, from whom do you need to ask for permission (or forgiveness) on actions you decide to take?
- I = Who should be informed after decisions are made or action is taken? This key element ensures those who will be involved or have a need to know are defined upfront, helps people feel included in the process, and supports overall buy-in.
By identifying these considerations before going “live” with communicating across the company, you are well prepared to share your amazing vision in a way that people can “envision. ” And yet, you are not done!
Often, leaders stop here with a grand scale communication effort to lay out the company’s vision, sharing the picture of what success could look like, and the plan for getting to this point. However, the employees who will be instrumental in carrying out the day to day tasks involved in bringing this vision to reality, still might not know where they fit in – what part do they play? That is where this last “P” comes into play.
PART: This step involves having each leader meet individually with each employee – even beyond a team meeting. This one-on-one discussion between the leader and direct report employee is one where questions are answered, and specific expectations are discussed, including tasks, projects, deliverables, even behaviors that needed to support the vision. At the end of each meeting, employees should have a clear picture of what their role is in the overall success of achieving the mission, as well as available resources and support they can expect.
When your vision is clear, team and organization on the same page concerning the road ahead, and resources available along the way, you are well on your way to incredible outcomes in the coming year. On behalf of Employers Council, we stand ready to support your continued success in 2020!