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Beyond planning: Bringing everyone on board

On Human Rights Day, Simply Communicate facilitated a planning day for The Green Network, an environmental activist network, at the Victoria Country Club.

It was a cool drizzly day, but the golfers continued to play outside our comfortable space. Why? Perhaps only golfers could tell us, but, of course, the team I was working with had gathered on Human Rights Day, a public holiday. Why?

In both cases the activity mattered, whether golf or planning, it mattered more to the participants than anything else they could be doing.

It is a question we have often discussed here. What matters? If we don’t know what matters we will not be able to prioritise activities, and we will simply drift from one thing to another. It is a question every department, team and individual must answer. What matters in this department? What should we be doing day after day to help achieve the organisational goals?

In organisations of all sizes, we too often fail to apply our vision and mission statements and goals to individual teams and employees: how do I in this team, in this position, contribute best to these goals.

All too often, of course, individuals don’t even know what the mission and the objectives are. They are sitting on the boardroom wall, too complicated to remember. Jack Welch said, ‘Your direction has to be so vivid that if you randomly woke one of your employees in the middle of the night, and asked him, “Where are we going?” he could still answer in a half-asleep stupor.’ (Winning, 2005)

Sometimes a wildly important goal is well articulated and well presented to everyone, such as ‘increase turnover by 20% by year end’ or ‘reduce production waste by 5% by 31 December.’ Everyone knows what the goal is, and in the directly affected departments, such as sales and marketing for the first, or production and engineering for the second, everyone knows what they must do. But what about accounting? What about HR? What about sales and marketing when the goal is reducing production waste?

This is the part we usually leave out. We tell everyone the big plan, but we forget to alert everyone to the little steps for which each will be responsible.

What are you doing to articulate your goals? What are you doing to bring everyone on board?

How can Simply Communicate help you?

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Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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