Business owners often put a great deal of effort into pulling together a business plan and defining the business goals. Many hold team days to endorse the plan and put initiatives in place to execute on it. When talking to team members though, I often get asked, 'What should I be doing day-to-day to contribute to the plan?'. Many of them feel the plan is for the management level and they should just keep on keeping on.
To answer this question, let’s explore the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan. A business plan is an idea, often surrounding a goal, to achieve the desired outcome, usually over a 12 month period. The business plan may have actions and tasks that individual team members may need to complete to execute on the plan. This all sounds like a relatively simple concept. A strategic plan, however, ensures the business identifies the synergy between all processes and resources in the business, to align each of them towards achieving the business goal.
Within this synergy sits a vital cog, the team. The team is required to follow a process or system to complete a task.
This process must be aligned to the business goals to ensure the team is not pulling against the momentum of the business and causing conflict. In many instances, the team doesn’t realize they are doing this as they are merely following a process that isn’t aligned with the business goals. Let’s use a simple example to demonstrate this.
One of the business goals may be to improve the customer feedback rating by 15 points this year. Easy... we need ramp up our customer service levels. I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone, but what might be is how some businesses go about this. What I often see happen is that business owners implement a different system or policy to work on this goal in isolation from the rest of the business. They may introduce ‘no reason’ calls in an attempt to reach out to owners on a regular basis to provide value, yet the same team member isn’t ringing them with feedback on a recent periodic inspection or confirming maintenance has been completed.
To execute on the goal successfully and arm the team with the right tools to contribute to them, we would need to align all the levers of the business around our customer expectations. An example may be returning customer calls within two hours of receiving them; proactively ringing landlords after key events such as a new tenant or maintenance at the property, or offering them a free rental or sale market comparison for their property without prompt. A business needs to review each of the processes from within and seamlessly build customer contact points into them to remain proactive with clients.
Next time you are reviewing the business goals, consider for a moment, how will the team contribute to these goals and what systems or processes do I need to change to ensure a seamless, sustainable approach to this?