How’s your 2011 planning going? What changes do you see on the horizon for your organisation’s strategic plan?

There’s been a great deal of fluctuation in strategic plans during the last three years as companies have reacted to economic pressures in numerous ways, from drastic cutting of employees (how do we get the work done without them?) to evaluating relevance in a rapidly changing market (do people even want to buy my product any more?)

The more critical questions, however, are:

1. Do your employees know how the strategic objectives have changed?
2. Do they know how to adjust their work to align with the new objectives?

A recent SmartBrief on Leadership poll found that, for 40% of employees, the answer to both questions is “No.”

These findings are worse than the results of an earlier Mercer study I wrote about before that found:

    “Simply put, almost two-thirds of all employees are 33% as productive as they can be because they don’t understand what they are now asked to do.”

The comments of Mike Figliuolo, managing director of ThoughtLeaders, in reaction to the SmartBrief poll explain the haards of not getting everyone focussed on the same plan:

    “Without a defined destination, you’re simply making widgets, and you may wake up one day to find the widget is obsolete because the strategic landscape around you changed whilst you were hunched over the widget machine.”

So how do you solve this? Don’t forget these two critical steps:

1) Inform people of the destination. Make sure all employees know what the end goal is.

2) Inform people of the path. Knowing the destination is useless unless you know how to get there.

One of the most effective methods for repeatedly communicating both the destination and the path to all employees is through strategic employee recognition. In this kind of employee recognition programme, you frequently and in a timely way acknowledge and express appreciation to employees when they contribute to achieving the strategic objective whilst demonstrating the company values. If you do this consistently, employees come to understand how they, personally, are contributing to the strategic plan, and desire to continue to do so.

Do you understand both the destination and the path? Are you helping those who work for you to understand as well? How?

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