The importance of planning with your team

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by Paul Therien

You have heard it before, the best laid plans will not guarantee success, but without any plan at all you are certainly guaranteed failure - or at least to fall dramatically short of your goals. The most successful people in the world plan. They have set their goals, under the vision of where they want to be and why, then they set their plan for how they will achieve those goals.

Imagine you are going to take a trip across the country. You know that it will take an approximate period of time and you know the general direction you need to take - but you do not have a map. Chances are pretty good that you will get off course and you could end up spending much more time getting to your destination than you anticipated. Now imagine that same trip, fully planned out on a GPS system. You will know exactly when you will arrive and the route you take, barring of course any natural disasters, but then you can plan for those eventualities too.

Creating a plan helps you to better understand where you are today and what your future holds by making predictions about what will happen down the road. It is not perfect, but it is a necessity in business just as knowing where you are going is a necessity in driving.

Now imagine that you are part of a team. Picture yourself sitting in a car blind folded, all you know is that you are headed somewhere - but where? Your job is to turn a crank over and over. You are not sure why you turn the crank, but you know that it is important. If there was a wrong turn taken you would not be able to see that and perhaps contribute an idea of how to remedy the situation. You are not truly a part of a team.

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners and managers make is creating a plan that is not shared with their teams. There is a pervasive attitude in business that planning is best left to the bosses and the implementation to the staff. Contrary to what some people believe, each and every person who works at a company has a vested interest in seeing that company succeed. They may not be owners or have shares, but their livelihoods greatly depend on the success, or failure, of that company. Just as the company relies on them. In the above scenario, if the car crashes… well everyone in that car is affected.

A lot of managers that I speak to often comment to me how their team seems unengaged in the business, they are often late for work and rarely go the extra mile. A huge part of that is simply due to the fact that management does not engage their team and does not allow them to participate in the success of the company. I do not mean that the employee should necessarily set the long term vision or goals for the company, but they do have the capacity to contribute value through the ideas they present and the work they do to meet the end goals. An employee who feels that their contribution matters will dedicate themselves much more to the needs of the business than one who does not. By engaging your teams in the planning process of how you will achieve your goals you build loyalty and your team has greater confidence in you as a leader.

Having a planning workshop with your team can make a fundamental difference in the way your business operates. Engage your team and witness employee satisfaction and productivity increase dramatically.

Paul has spent the last 20 years working in a variety of industries with a focus on management, teams, business development, sales, and operations.  A creative thinker and innovator, he is well known for his ability to think outside the box and develop new and innovative ways to look at the world. www.paultherien.com

  • C. Smyth on 2013-07-11 1:49:20 PM

    I have had Paul facilitate team building excercises with my team in the past. I HIGHLY recommend him. He took time to understand our needs and our business and the results were fantastic.

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