Often, when I walk into a member’s office, I ask the first three people I meet, “What are the top goals of the company for this year?” Usually the first person I encounter is the receptionist. If that receptionist can answer, I have the sense I’m in a well-run company. What often happens is they look at me and say, “What?” I have found in some offices that even partners or owners in the businesses do not know what their top business goals are. You can believe that our members hear from me about that! If you’ve created a business plan but it’s not communicated company-wide, you’re tremendously limited in what you can achieve.
When I return to the same office and ask the receptionist again, “What are the company’s goals?” and that person gives me an answer, adding that so-and-so went over the goals with them, I then ask, “So what are you working on right now? Which one of the goals does this task further?” When the answer is, “Uhhh….” then there’s more work to be done in this area with the team. If your team can’t articulate how what they are doing furthers the company goals, why are they doing those things?
This is the power of having a business plan that’s communicated and that everyone is actively pursuing. This is what we focus on in our January CEO Tools Workshop and following Round Table in February – everyone has done an annual plan; we want to teach how to do it quarterly or monthly.
I’ll leave you with this anecdote: In the 1960s, during John F. Kennedy’s presidency, he said “We’re going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.” A news anchor who was at NASA headquarters doing interviews walked up to someone who happened to be a janitor, and asked him what his job was. The employee responded, “To put a man on the moon.” When you get a response like that from team members company-wide, that’s when you know everyone is pulling in the same direction!
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