Strategic planning processes begin at the organizational level. Those who can see the big picture develop strategies that set direction. They also develop goals that the entire organization will be expected to achieve. The farther a person is from senior leadership the greater the risk that he or she ignores these goals. Many people, whom I have asked when working with large organizations, indicate that they feel little or no responsibility for corporate goals. Beyond that, they also indicate they do not believe their actions affect the outcome of those goals in any real way.
If most people who are not senior leaders in an organization ignore corporate goals, what is the potential that they will be achieved? There is a perspective problem. Perhaps that is why many managers assume corporate goals will not change much each year. Most people are ignoring them.
When you make progress toward corporate goals, it will be because enough individuals are aligned with them to contribute. Individual contributions accumulate, resulting in collective success. The primary place that individuals in a company can connect to corporate goals is through the work group.
In many organizations, managers are expected to ensure individuals set goals that connect to a corporate goal. This approach attempts to align individuals, making some impact, but it misses the opportunity to connect the person to the organization through the team.
As a team leader, you connect the team to the organization when you set team goals. Team goals should align with corporate goals, but team members will be more closely connected to team goals than corporate goals. Team actions to achieve team goals complete the team’s strategic plan while aligning the team within the organization. As a result, individuals are contributing to corporate goals.
Your plan should have these three attributes:
Your plans should be strategic. That is, the plan defines how you will make progress in areas you are not achieving desired results. It should provide measurement to gauge progress. If the goals in your plan are achieved you should make significant progress as you support corporate goals.
Innovation has become a buzzword as everyone strives to achieve it. As it relates to your team’s strategic plan, it means you plan to take different actions than you have taken in the past. Current performance is a result of past actions. If you want to perform at a different level, it will take a different set of actions.
Implement your plan as your team members set individual goals that support team goals and assume responsibility for their completion. Ensure the individual actions that support individual, team, and corporate goals are included in team members’ daily activities. Set this expectation and check in so you know how they are progressing toward their goals. Monitor team goals, as they should reflect the achievement of individual team member goals.
When you, as a team leader, align your team with corporate goals through a team strategic planning process, you will effectively fulfill your responsibility within the organization. This positive outcome will benefit you, your team, and the company.