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Research Triangle Business Advisors
September 2013 Newsletter
The Perceived Problem
One of the biggest concerns I hear from top executives and business owners is that their people fail to complete tasks quickly enough. There are concerns that employees tasked with implementation of a plan are not making decisions fast enough and, don’t act on these decisions with any urgency. When leaders attempt to make sense of this, they often assume that employees just don’t care, and they are not acting in the best interest of the business’ success. I think these managers don’t understand their contribution to the problem.
Bob De Contreras
Employees Can't Carry Out A Plan:
The Real Problem
Part of the failure is in the business’ planning process itself. Senior leaders spend large amounts of time creating plans, often in isolation. When they return with a plan in hand, they are seeking “buy-in” from their team. In other words, the plan is dumped on employees, who are then tasked with implementing it — without understanding the nuances and debates that went into its creation.
It’s natural that when the implementers hit a roadblock, they have a hard time moving forward because they’re missing crucial information. They weren’t exposed to the alternatives discussed and discarded. They don’t have the “whys” inherent in the plan and, as a result, developing Plan B is time-consuming to construct and vet. This delay results in a loss of focus, motivation, time, and money.
Lessons in how to improve this process can be taken from the development and construction of a building. In the past, project owners hired architects to design the building, and those blueprints were handed to a contractor to build. More often than not, the contractor had to decipher and fix inconsistencies or inefficiencies that a lack of in-the-field experience may have led the architect to create.
After losing money and time to this ineffective process, the design charrette meeting gained popularity. In these meetings, the owner, architect, and contractor come together to discuss the project. The person who will build the structure can offer his expertise on the most effective ways to achieve the owner’s goal, and the architect can include those in the blueprints. The involvement of the implementer — the contractor — streamlines the process significantly.
When the implementers are part of the planning process, they can not only add perspective to the plan, but they are also immersed in its tradeoffs and nuances. Using this process, when the unexpected arises — and it always does — implementers can make course corrections quickly and act with visible focus.
Employees Drive Your Growth Strategy
By involving your employees in your strategizing, you’re preserving and protecting your business’s success. For their response to be effective, they need more than marching orders. To do this effectively, keep these tips in mind:
To effectively integrate the development of your employees and your business strategy, try incorporating the following:
It can be scary for senior managers to consider including “the whole company” in their plan development process, and it does take courage. But this marriage of people and strategy breeds successful businesses. By making the implementers part of your planning process, you’ll guarantee your employee contribution to the company’s success.
Cary | Raleigh | Research Triangle Park |
Greensboro | North Carolina