We interviewed strategic planning expert Jeanne Coughlin of The Coughlin Group to find out the most common organizational challenges and how to fix them.

Challenge 1: “My management team is going in different directions.”

 

If you feel like everyone in your organization is going in different directions, you are not alone. It’s common for people in organizations to get into their own functional silos. With everyone focusing on their own departmental responsibilities and activities, the vision of the organization can get lost.

You may have one manager focused on improving customer service at any cost, while another manager is working tirelessly to reduce costs without understanding the customer impact.  Without realizing it, they’re working at odds with each other.

This lack of unity calls for a need to create clarity.

Solution: Create Clarity

Gathering your management team and creating a plan is an essential solution to this. Discuss with your team the organization’s mission, its values and its vision.

Ask yourself and your team:

  • Why does this company exist?
  • What are our core values?
  • What are we building?

Answering these questions helps lay a foundation for the organization, where it’s heading, and how it’s going to get there.

It’s important for your team to have a unified understanding of how they are going to engage in growing the business.


Challenge 2: “We’re too busy with the day-to-day for a plan.”

 

Often times everybody gets so absorbed in the day-to-day chaos, the overarching strategic plan gets pushed to the side or forgotten.

Putting out the daily fires can give people an adrenaline rush and instant gratification which makes working on the long-term projects seem less satisfying.

For instance, your HR Manager may be caught up in paperwork and event planning, so much so, that designing your much-needed payroll system keeps getting pushed back.

This challenge calls for more focused behaviors.

Solution: Focus Behaviors

In order to have different results, different behaviors must be adapted.

Ask yourself and your team:

  • What are the habits we have that need to change?
  • What are the game-changing projects that will move the organization forward?
  • What’s working? What’s not working?

Once you have the answers to those questions you can determine:

  • Who is responsible for what?
  • What is our timeline?

Figuring out what initiatives are going to really positively impact the business will help focus the plan creation, including dates and timelines.


Challenge 3: “There’s a lack of accountability and tracking in my organization.”

 

Creating a plan is just part of the organizational strategy. The ultimate value of the plan depends upon successful execution.

You may have a reasonable plan in place but progress isn’t being made because your management team isn’t being held accountable and you’re not having the difficult conversations to determine why.

This lack of tracking and systems calls for a better way to measure results.

Solution: Measure results

Execution occurs when the next level of success is supported by the next level of discipline.

Create a system where the plans are being reviewed and you’re bringing visibility to the commitments team members have made to each other.

As a team, discuss some of the challenges that are preventing execution and how you can support one another in the implementation.

Ask yourself and your team:

  • What are the commitments we made?
  • Why is progress being made?
  • Why is progress not being made?
  • Are we lacking resources to implement this plan?
  • Do we need to adjust the plan?

It’s important to understand that a strategic plan is a working document. Even with an accountable staff and measurement systems in place, situations arise that become roadblocks.

Be sure to systematically review progress against the plan and make adjustments when needed.

Organizations face challenges every day. Creating clarity, focusing behaviors, and measuring results can help relieve those challenges and strategically take your organization to the next level.

Bringing the Management Team Together: Defining Strategy and Executing Your Plan

Ask the Expert Event:

Bringing the Management Team Together: Defining Strategy and Executing Your Plan

Join our partner, The Coughlin Group, to learn how to create a stronger, more focused management team, making smarter choices and making sure the important things actually get done. The event is on September 1 from 9:00-11:00 AM.

Register for the Event

 

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