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Tech Talk Fundamentals of the Software Design

Fundamentals of Strategic PlanningFundamentals of Strategic Planning Workshop Overview

No matter how well the strategy is designed, it is people that make it work. It is one thing for business leaders and senior management teams to develop new strategies. It is quiet a challenge to have them successfully implemented. Many strategies fail to deliver their full potential. This can be traced back to four critical success areas.

They fail because;

  1. The mission or strategy is vague or unclear. People are not sure what they need to do to support them day-to-day.

  2. The values described in the vision, mission and goals are at odds with the existing values and beliefs guiding behavior within the organization.

  3. There are no measures to help staff mark progress toward goal achievement.

  4. There is no reinforcement for behaviors supporting change.

During this week we will build the capability and camaraderie necessary to achieve the full potential of your vision, mission and goals.

1. Don’t expect your new mission, strategy or goals to be successful if staff members don’t understand what they need to do to drive success.

Imagine you and the other senior managers have recently developed a new vision and strategic plan. It was a lot of work and took more time than you anticipated. It was rolled out to all departments a few weeks ago. You decide to ask several frontline staff members how their work supports the new vision and strategy. After asking several staff members for their comments you realize they are all saying the same thing in different words. “I’m not sure, my job hasn’t changed.” If work priories and recognition of those priories do not change, then mission and strategies are at best, window dressing.

In our session, will develop frontline metrics that measure and align daily work activities with the key success factors driving your mission, strategy and goals.

2. The values described in the vision, mission and goals are at odds with the existing values and beliefs guiding behavior within the organization.

It is not uncommon for one section of an organization to have values very different from another section. Values are the unwritten rules that guide behavior. For example most people enter an elevator stand against the back wall avoiding eye contact and seldom speak to other passengers. A business value such as “It doesn’t matter how you get there as long are you get results”, have the potential for binding people together or ripping them apart. Corporate culture is based on the beliefs and values that are reinforced by management. Senior managers reinforce a set of values through the decisions the make, reports they read, promotions and recognition they give to a few staff members. The purpose of stating corporate values is to increase self management. If staff members are recognized for initiative supporting corporate values it provides meaningful examples for others to follow. Common bonds develop between those that share similar values. Aligning the personal values of staff members with corporate values is a skill that marks the measure of a leader.

We will develop leadership skills that identify and strengthen connections between personal values supporting our vision, mission and strategy.

3. There are no measures to help staff mark progress toward goal achievement When I was a young boy, my family would take long trips from Florida to Mississippi to see my father’s family. It seemed to take forever. I am sure my father got tired of hearing, “Are we there yet”. Adults need a road map in order to plot progress toward the goal. Setting measurable goals focus our efforts and motivate us. Without goals employees lose interest and focus on things that are more rewarding to them. When goal achievement is a long way off staff need to be focused on near term actions that drive goal achievement. When you are close to achieving a goal, the desire for success alone can drive effort. When pursuing a long term vision or strategy focuses employee efforts on immediate actins that drive long term success.

In our session, we will identify ways to plot progress and keep staff informed of progress toward goals achievement.

4. There is no reinforcement for behaviors supporting change.

Commitment can be defined as the persistence of staff to pursue a goal. We can observe this in a number of ways. For Example: The wiliness of staff to continue working toward goals after their initial efforts fail. Commitment can also be observed by noting the frequently staff members are distracted by working on low value tasks?

Rewarding those that achieve goals tell us little about the behavior taken to get there. Some organizational culture emphasize results so much that cheating develops as a part of their culture. Rewarding results alone may not reinforce the behaviors that drive success in the future. Research shows that staff members who are rewarded for putting in extra effort are more industrious and honest than those that have not been rewarded in this way.

We will create a reward structure that ensures staff members who put in extra effort are recognized. Reinforcing effort creates an achievement driven culture that also values honesty and commitment.

Leadership is not a position. The leadership tools and techniques taught in this session are not difficult to understand. Leadership is a skill that can be learned. However, anyone expecting to master them will be required to practice them on the job. Several research studies have confirmed that becoming an expert in any field requires 10 years or 10,000 hours of practice. If the last statement above discourages you read what Calvin Coolidge said below.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

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