Create a strategic plan in three questions

Now that you understand the frameworks and systems for your business, you need to put them together with a strategic plan. Consistency is key. Each day at 9am, I want you and your team to ask these three questions:

  1. What did we achieve yesterday?
  2. What are our priorities today?
  3. What are our roadblocks?

Do this at the same time in the same place every day. If you’re away for a day, ensure your team does it without you and reports back.

The outcome? You’ll have a highly motivated and effective self-managed team. Your people will become problem solvers, who take the initiative and say, “I haven’t got as much work on today, can I help you with this?” Or, “That’s not really a roadblock. I can fix that for you.”

Your team will also recognise and celebrate their successes more readily. By focusing on their achievements each day, success will snowball. You’ll prioritise and re-prioritise your goals and activities daily, working together as a team to clear your roadblocks.

Work on your direct reports

After implementing the above process consistently, it’s time to get your direct reports to send you an email each Friday afternoon, answering the same three questions:

  1. What did they each achieve this week?
  2. What are their priorities for next week?
  3. What are their roadblocks?

Your direct reports should also re-forward the update they sent you the previous week, so you can see whether they have achieved their goals. If they haven’t, why not? Should they re-prioritise? Are their roadblocks really roadblocks, or are they excuses for not getting things done?

Our job as leaders is to teach people to think. We must show them how to solve their problems and think outside the square.

Set up a monthly, quarterly and yearly routine

Once a month, on the same day at the same time, conduct the same three-question process with your team. But this time, allow each person three minutes to speak. Their focus should again be on what was achieved this month, priorities for next month, and roadblocks.

At the end of the meeting, allow everyone to brainstorm their priorities, then choose the ones that are most important to the team. Pick one or two top priorities, then spend 10–15 minutes with your team “think tanking” on how best to deal with them. This activity will help bring your entire team with you as you work towards the following month’s priorities and projects.

Then, every quarter, sit down with your team for a quarterly review. What did you achieve last quarter? What are your priorities for next quarter? What are the potential risks and roadblocks to your quarterly plan?

Every 12 months, do the same three-question process again, this time looking over the past year’s achievements, priorities and roadblocks. Did you accomplish what you set out to? What are next year’s priorities? How do they align with your three-year strategy? What barriers do you face – e.g. do you need more systems, processes, funding or people?

By asking the same three questions consistently, you’ll create a strategic plan for your business and be more likely to stick to it.

If you need help with your strategic plan, email me at corinne@tweakhr.com.au.

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