As you lead your team through strategic planning, one of the hardest discussions can be around strategy. Sometimes, your team has more ideas than you know what to do with, and other times, it can feel like the well is dry. Often, it’s easiest to come up with strategic ideas when things are going well, and when you really need to pull a rabbit out of a hat, it can be hard to be creative when the pressure is on.
At Rhythm Systems, we believe that having a strong Think Plan Do Rhythm is essential to growing your business with purpose. And, we think this rhythm is key for departments and individuals at every level of the organization, not just for the executive team. Think about how powerful it would be if each and every person in your company could tell you what the top priority for the company was for the year and for the quarter, how success is measured on those priorities, what their team is doing to support achieving those goals, and how they personally are contributing to the company's success. That's why we think cascading the Think Plan Do rhythm to departments is a key step for your company's success.
Planning is very important to set your company up for a successful year. You have probably heard the saying, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." This is essentially a paraphrase of an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Chapter 6 of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
Verne Harnish notes in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits that the difference between organizational vision and organizational alignment as drivers toward success is a whopping 99%. He demonstrates that vision = 1%, while team alignment = 99% yet few organizations put as much effort into creating organizational alignment as they do creating their vision statements, BHAG, 3 year strategic plan and more. The truth is aligning your organization around your strategic plan enables your team to execute against its goals and scale up the company.
Think about the power of that assertion for a moment. Why is it that organizational alignment (or organisational alignment) is exponentially more important to success than vision? The importance of organizational alignment, can't be understated - but how do you achieve it? How can I increase the level of organizational alignment in my company culture? What type of work structure allows you to achieve increasingly better business performance? You need to get into a Rhythm of 3 Year Strategic Planning, Annual Planning, Quarterly Execution Planning, and Weekly Team Meetings. Teams work more effectively when they know what their role in the company plan is, so make sure that you communicate that effectively and often.
Great strategic meetings don’t happen by accident. They happen because someone is committed to THINKING through the purpose and outcome, PLANNING all of the details in advance, and DOING the hard work of running the meeting. This is the role of an excellent annual planning facilitator that can help you better define your strategy, create a winning annual plan and leave with an action plan to get your annual initiatives done. In order to facilitate a planning session, there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done.