You have big ideas—great ideas. Your ideas keep you believing in yourself, your business, and your team. Your energy makes everyone around you a believer, too. Between what you’ve been through in 2020, the reasons to be optimistic in 2021, and your drive to improve in the new year, your mind is grinding more than ever. As you turn those big ideas into big plans, be mindful of the most pivotal step in pursuing your goal…
The Starting Point
A roadmap guides you to your destination. In business, that destination is the win. But a business roadmap or strategic plan doesn’t always tell you the best place to start. We sometimes take a first step that might not be the most effective or reflective based on where we stand in the present. Your business’ initial starting point is not the same as the one to start enacting change! In deciding the latter:
Involve Your Team
It’s difficult for any business owner to know what’s going on in the trenches. Even the most connected, cohesive teams have communication gaps. And even the most active, engaged owners lose touch with daily operations. Before you move forward on an idea or initiative, consider the people—your employees—who are doing the work, and get their takes on where to start.
That’s easier said than done, especially for a large company, which is why owners often hire a partner like Exit Consulting Group to assist with strategic planning. In addition to facilitating individual interviews and compiling objective, honest, anonymous feedback, an outside party can make the planning process feel real and help people feel heard. Be sure to give a proper introduction to that outside resource before getting started and assure everyone internally that the exercise is solely for the company’s improvement.
Identify Common Themes
Your employees’ opinions will vary, and they could differ vastly. Even so, there will almost certainly be overlap in their responses, or at least some common themes. You will get a glimpse into all of the things that are inherent to strategic planning, yet often overlooked during implementation: workflows, positions, processes, organizational structure, etc. If it feels like a step back, that’s because it is. We want to assess and synthesize the data from different perspectives to find commonalities and, ultimately, establish the starting point to go forward with full force.
Envision and Evolve
Strategic planning moves fast; don’t let that rush you into execution. Businesses grow and evolve the same way people do. We need to crawl before we can stand, stand before we can walk, and walk before we can run. We don’t grow in stages because we necessarily want to, but because we need to develop the muscle groups in order to advance to the next ability.
Allow time for your big idea to unfold. Think in terms of weeks or months rather than days or hours. It takes more than a meeting to prepare your business for the future and more than a roadmap to position your team for success. It is true that you must start somewhere. Make that starting point somewhere meaningful, productive, and purposeful.