We’ve all seen the numerous negative impacts the pandemic had on the business world, but on top of all that, massive technological advancements are being made as well as a complete reshaping of typical business models—companies are stretching themselves thin to catch up.
Team members are scattering to complete their tasks and get things done, yet despite their razor-sharp focus, results aren’t on the horizon. Business owners around the world are at a loss to figure out the root cause of all this.
And if you’re already wondering, no, COVID-19 isn’t the reason.
COVID-19 isn’t the only thing holding you back
The pandemic has undoubtedly caused major setbacks for some, especially the travel, tourism, and real estate industries. But as we’ve seen in recent weeks, companies like Airbnb
But how is that possible? How didn’t the pandemic drive this business to bankruptcy?
Because the virus isn’t always the sole reason for lack of advancement. Airbnb’s story proves that. There are other, more dire reasons that might lead to a company’s downfall, such as lack of accountability, lack of responsibility, and most importantly, the lack of strategic planning.
Strategic planning forces you to stop thinking at task-level, and more at goal-level—instead of creating daily tasks, you’re creating goal-oriented tasks that serve a bigger purpose, rather than day-to-day operations.
Companies that thrive in situations like these have a plan of action. One that is long-term and results-driven. They place, who make sure not a single employee loses track of the company’s long-term goals and main objectives.
To reap the benefits of strategic planning, each party must learn to hold themselves accountable
What makes planning out strategic goals and objectives a real challenge is its cutthroat honesty—it’s a constant reminder of something far greater than the unchallenging, daily technical tasks. It’s a reminder of the more ambitious, the more intimidating, the more goal-driven “bigger picture.”
But in order to achieve the “big picture” dream, everyone—from the C-suite all the way down to the interns—needs to understand that their focus, their strategy, and their effort should be directed toward the company’s long-term goals.
Doing this requires a high level of accountability. If your team members have a tendency to throw blame, dump their tasks on others, and refuse to admit their shortcomings, you’re going to have a hard time seeing any kind of progress.
An unwillingness to admit and say, “I could’ve done better. Here’s what I did wrong…” it is like poking a small hole in business structure. It may look insignificant at first—you might even turn a blind eye—but you’ll soon notice your business structure gradually deflating, until one day, you wonder why everything fell apart in the first place.
You need a team member that, when things go wrong and they mess up, will patch up that hole and learn from their mistake.
Accountability is, however, only one of the critical factors for poor performance. There are other factors that are just as critical that unfortunately go unnoticed, or flagged by executives as “harmless” or “slightly annoying” at best.
The five reasons why you aren’t seeing results, even when you think you’re doing everything right.
There’s little to no accountability, no ownership, or sense of responsibility
CEOs often complain about team leaders who never admit they’re wrong and isolate their department from the rest of the organization, which results in a team whose goals don’t serve the company’s vision.
Owning to your mistakes and holding accountability are qualities that should never be overlooked in people intending to take on executive roles. Especially in the fast-paced world of today, you can’t afford a team of leaders pointing fingers, taking sides, and playing “the blame game.”
Ownership and taking responsibility are particularly important because a department head that leads their department like an owner, would regularly convey the company’s vision to their team and vigorously track their progress.
There needs to be not only a sense of accountability among team leaders, but also a sense of ownership and responsibility toward the company’s long-term goals.
Your team doesn’t know or understand your vision
This could be one of the most widespread problems we see from our clients struggling to see progress within their organizations.
It’s a typical misconception that people in corporate are the only ones who need to have the company’s vision and long-term goals drilled into them—lower-ranking employees, however, aren’t obligated to know.
You’re forgetting that every employee within a department is just as important, and just as responsible for fulfilling the company’s long-term goals as those in c-suite positions.
Reshape your thinking so that it isn’t, “executives are responsible for achieving our vision” but, “everyone’s responsible for achieving our vision.”
Your next goal should be to ensures that everyone—even the guy working the printers—knows what the company’s vision is, and to make sure everyone understands what that vision is and why they should work for it.
Both you and your team are losing focus
We’re now living in a world of disruption. As previously mentioned, we’re seeing a rise in new technological innovations and a formation of an entirely new business model. It’s normal to want to keep up with everyone else and make the necessary changes to your business.
The problem with most CEOs and business owners, especially during these challenging times, is that they lose sight of the bigger picture, and end up working at an operational level. This results in a company with departments working separately and striving to achieve their own separate departmental goals, which might inadvertently lead to the development of the silo mentality to develop.
If you feel that your team leaders’ focus is all over the place, this could be why. And once you or your c-suite executives notice this, bring yourselves back and remember the company’s main objectives. Go back to the drawing board, create a roadmap for your strategic goals, or anything else that can help maintain focus.
There’s a strong aversion to change among department heads and team members
Thinking in terms of the company’s “big picture” and long-term goals can be intimidating for members who usually think tactically. Long-term goals are usually clear-cut and brutally straightforward; a sort of mentality that not everyone is used to, and requires a huge attitude change.
If you see some resistance from certain team leaders, consider hiring a consultant who can help move things forward. You’ll be offering your executive a valuable learning experience—getting an expert to show him the ropes—, and at the same time, your company will still be moving toward its original goals without hindrance.
You don’t communicate with your team members
Many business owners find it hard to believe when they hear that most of their problems can sometimes be solved with more proper, meaningful communication.
If your c-suite executive isn’t hitting their OKRs or meeting their weekly objectives, sit them down and have a one-on-one discussion with them about it. Allow them to lead the conversation and let them offer up solutions to the problem themselves.
Ask them questions like “in what way we can improve our numbers?” or “how can we improve our progress?” Notice that there aren’t any “you”’s or “why”’s in any of these questions. Without them, they sound less accusatory and more friendly.
. What business owners need to keep in mind, though, that discussions must remain free of any blame games. Don’t let the team member in question steer the conversation away from the main problem, and that’s finding ways your team member can contribute to reaching the company’s long-term goals.
Tracking progress and keeping everyone in-check: Create a strategy execution framework that works for your business
Whether you’re dealing with one of the problems in that list or something else entirely, having a foundation in place for tracking your strategic goals and objectives will help keep your team accountable and drive them to take well-calculated action.
Understand what OKRs are
There are three important components to the OKR goal-setting system: Objectives, Key Results (KR), and Follow-up. It’s a simple, basic framework that even Fortune 500 companiesuse to hit their quarterly objectives. They’re simple, uncomplicated, and qualitative goals that will make your team members more highly aligned.
If you’re still unsure how OKRs work, Case In Point offers a free, simple Google-like platform with Facebook-like engagement. They even offer a week-long training program on how to use their OKRs-based platform.
Use project management software
Thanks to digital transformation, almost all company processes can be handled digitally or “on the cloud.”
Project management software helps your team to visualize the work they have to do on a given day or week. There are project management tools that track time spent on each project or task and provide reports on any employee working on that tool. Having software like this at your disposal can save you time tracking each team member’s progress, and allows you to focus your attention on growing your business.
Meet up every single day
The Follow-up part of the “OKRs” is one that’s usually overlooked by a lot of business owners. There was a time when companies would renew their strategy every five years or so, but definitely not in this day and age. This is why it’s important for your employees to meet up on a regular basis to discuss their strategy and daily goals.
Let every department head gather their team members on a daily basis to discuss their daily and weekly goals. Also have your team leaders gather for a weekly meet-up to discuss their progress and strategy, which should also include the CEO and business owner(s).
Strategies shouldn’t be reviewed every year, but every quarter.
Golden Tip: Don’t overthink your strategy
The point of setting a strategic plan is to stop fussing over tactical, operational tasks, but sometimes business owners, executives, and team leaders even end up fussing over strategy.
Don’t expect to come up with the perfect strategy right from the start; it’s okay if you feel the need to go back and refine it from time to time. That’s the point of weekly and daily meetings—you discuss your strategy with your team members and then make alterations when necessary.
Accept that no strategy is ever perfect or complete and just take action.