March 14, 2019
Changes in direction when no plan exists are just guesses resulting in poor performance.
I suspect you have all heard the challenges to planning that it is going to change so why take the time to plan it out in detail. If we just get started, we will figure it out as we go.
As the saying goes – if you don’t know where you are going then all paths will get you to nowhere.
Last week you took some time to either craft your goals or review those already in place for 2019. These goals went through the “SMART” process to distill them into very focused objectives. If you have not completed the process, don’t fret. The goal planning process is not a stagnant effort. Just like planning the steps to put a strategy in place to accomplish a goal, the goals themselves also need the agility to adapt to new information or changes in your world or the marketplace. Make sure each goal is walked through the “SMART” process so that you can confirm its relevance and it can stand strong and sturdy on the cultural foundation you have built.
With goals in hand and the beginning of action steps to move from desirable concept into deliverable you need to bring those steps into your organizations processes and procedures. This is the “How” you do “What” you do. This ultimately affects the what you do and the Purpose or “Why” you do it. These procedures, processes and underlying systems keep the movement on a straight and focused path. Like a train on railroad tracks, the locomotive energy stays straight and is tuned by specific actions taken on the plan to direct it to its’ final destination. Unlike driving a car where the individual can have greater input to the direction the car goes, the systems, process and procedures help maintain a high degree of consistency which ultimately make the actions more effective and efficient.
Getting back to the desire not to plan but just to act. Once an original approach/plan is laid out, as more input is discovered you can then lay it over the plan to see where gaps might be created and set in motion steps to remove those gaps. Without the plan you just start driving erratically. Maybe you turn to the right and then back to the left only to find out that staying straight was still the best direction to take. All the additional turning just sends different messages to all those following which disrupts the flow.
A good way to understand this is referring to the team building exercise referred to as telephone. The exercise places a group of people in a circle and the facilitator tells the first person a story. This person in turn relates the story to the next person in the circle and it continues until it arrives back at the last person in the circle. Once the story has been passed from person to person without a defined system, process or procedure it is verbalized and compared with the original story. In almost all cases by the time the story is compared with the original details, it has changed. Some items dropped from the story and other things embellished beyond their original scope. The facilitator introduces some structure. Key elements that each person is to capture from the person telling them the story. This structure is to assist in capturing the relevant details, so the different story remains intact through the various communincation styles of the people in the circle. The results are typically so improved that those involved in the exercise get quickly convinced of the value of having process and structure in not just communincation but in the actions taken to achieve personal and business goals.
This week observe how the “Telephone System” – the structure, systems, processes and procedures flow in your Company. Do they exist? Are they aligned with your Culture? Are they understood and being executed consistently?
Broken Telephone? Give JKL Associates a call to assist you in strengthening your performance systems.
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