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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Communicate Your Organization's Goals - Or Else!

Here's a major wake-up call!

According to research commissioned by the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, only 24% of employees know their firm’s goals for 2010.

Other key findings:

  • 32% even doubted there was a plan for their business at all.
  • Only 27 per cent of people said they were fully prepared for the challenges they would face at work in the year ahead.

"This is just one example of how poor employee engagement can put the brakes on improved business performance. If leaders don't explain where the business is going and what it's seeking to achieve, how can people be motivated or know what they're meant to contribute? Clear goals are a key ingredient for achieving performance and productivity - but worryingly, this research suggests many employers haven't yet grasped this for 2010."

BOTTOMLINE: Here are some specific steps you can take now to ensure employees are engaged and ready to do their part for executing strategy in 2010.

  1. Renew your organization's mission, vision, shared values, strategic position, create a short list of vital few objectives, and put together a list of things to stop doing.
  2. Develop a strategic plan that outlines a short list of key initiatives that will drive activity toward meeting those objectives. Assign responsibility, key targets, outcomes and create measures to track progress.
  3. Communicate the results of #'s 1 and 2 to everyone in the organization - in multiple ways, on multiple occasions. (That means two-way communication, which includes listening.)
  4. Align the organization's resources (people, technologies, processes, policies, measures) to support these initiatives.
  5. Have each person in the organization develop an individual plan of activities for the quarter, which align with the key initiatives they're working on. Hold short status meetings with team leaders weekly to track progress, to identify areas of risk, and provide enough time for continual course correction.
  6. Measure results quarterly (not activity), review individual performance (and use 360 feedback surveys), survey stakeholders' satisfaction regularly, and review internal strengths, weakesses and external opportunities and threats.

(Want more specifics on how to accomplish these steps? Read Six Disciplines for Excellence.)

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