Engaging Your Team in Business Planning
When discussing teams, sports analogies inevitably come up. Why is that? Quite simply, the “rules of the game” when it comes to forming and leading a team translate well from organized sports to organized businesses. Remember, people support what they help create, so get your team engaged in the planning process for a winning outcome!
Can you imagine what a football team would look like on the field if the coach did not share his strategy with the team, if the coach didn’t provide players with their individual responsibilities or the quarterback did not share his next plays during the huddle? You would have players running into each other, headed in the wrong direction, confused and frustrated. What a mess!
In many ways, teams in the workplace are no different than teams on the field, yet so many organizations go about their business without a plan. And if the leaders do have a plan, they don’t engage their team in the planning process or share with them what that plan is. So, how is that team supposed to work together towards a common goal?
Engaging your team in the planning process is a sure-fire way to ensure that everyone is headed in the same direction. It also provides employees with internal motivation and the desire to complete the tasks at hand because they understand why they are doing what they’re doing as well as what direction they’re headed.
Here are 7 reasons to engage your team in the planning process:
- Provides the CEO/Leader with support in planning the future of the business.
- Gives the team members a voice and a sense of value within the company.
- Keeps everyone focused on a common goal with a strategy to achieve that goal.
- Empowers employees to make better decisions because they know the direction of the company.
- Makes it easier for employees to create individual goals that contribute to the organization’s goals.
- Cultivates brainstorming and creativity from team members, allowing for new ideas and solutions.
- Sets up a culture of win/win for everyone.
Great leaders build great teams by cultivating their full potential and by creating an environment where team members can be productive, develop their strengths and offset their weaknesses. Knowing these strengths and weaknesses can help leaders plan strategic moves and maneuver their players to the proper positions where they will have the best winning outcomes. Football coaches do this when they have tryouts. This is when they analyze players’ strengths and weaknesses, form a plan and place their players in the correct positions for success.
Businesses may not have “tryouts,” but they can use assessment tools for identifying strengths and weaknesses of individual employees. We recommend the DISC Teams and Values® assessment (contact us for more information). Having your team members in their best strategic positions will help the overall planning process by empowering individuals to leverage their strengths.
Ways to include your team in the planning process include:
- Schedule a specific time without interruptions or distractions to focus on the 8 facets of the business.
- Give team members time in advance to think about what is working and not working in each facet.
- Ask for feedback and solutions on what they would recommend, with an understanding it is an open forum and no idea is a bad one.
- As the CEO, be prepared to share your vision of the company and what your goals and objectives are.
- Have your team set goals for the business and for themselves.
- Set timelines for projects and goals and schedule follow-up accountability meetings.
- Use metrics other than financials to measure progress such as improvement in customer satisfaction, professional development, etc.
With common goals created together, there is an element of ownership, and the level of productivity and profitability is increased. By using this process, the team members gain a sense of value and pride by contributing ideas. The acronym of T.E.A.M. – Together Everyone Achieves More – becomes evident when you engage your team in planning.