Visionistics: Grasp Goals, Feel Out the Future (Conclusion)

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Diana Vollmer |

Reward for clear thought and planning: self-managed team

SAN FRANCISCO — The focus of my recent DreamCatcher story was on the structure CEOs used for training their managers to manage themselves and their teams so owners have their own time to “dream the dream.” Now in this installment, the focus will be on the reality of implementation of the management system, whichever system you choose to adopt.

One or two mission/vision meetings is just the beginning of the process of getting your managers and associates aligned with your vision for the company. More frequently than not, this topic is dropped after the statement is adopted and so it has very little impact on the business.

To get buy-in and alignment throughout the organization, your vision must be alive on a daily basis.

Your vision needs to be incorporated in the day-to-day operations of the company. It must be clear and concise enough that it can act as a mantra for the running of the business.

THE ACHIEVERS

If you get what you measure, it is necessary to measure what you get.

Making goals measurable is key to the process and to determining what progress (or lack of) is being made. If your goal is to increase sales, a rise of 1 cent actually might be viewed as a success.

Make it clear how much you want to raise sales. Is it by 5% or 50%? Remember, numbers are measurable, feelings are not.

There must also be a timeline specified. Is a 5% increase in five years a success when inflation is 2-3% per year, or is that really an abysmal failure? Both long- and short-term goals need specificity to determine success.

The long-term goals will direct the short-term goals which direct the specific action plans and the timeframes within which to accomplish them.

Each goal needs a specific plan for achievement that is clear, concise and easy to follow. There should be no ambiguity about what is to be done to accomplish each step along the path to goal achievement.

Most goals require a team to complete them. It should be clear who has the authority, responsibility and accountability for each of the steps to be completed, from the most mundane logistical aspect to the more complex overall management of the project.

For example, if the goal is a three-day turnaround on household work, the household station and boiler must be scheduled to operate with that goal in mind, as must the delivery schedule.

Usually, the same person does not schedule or manage all of the aspects of a project, so there must be teamwork among the line staff as well as among the management of the various departments. They are all parts of the same puzzle, and customers don’t excuse weekends from their expectation calculations.

It is essential that the sales team understands all of the underlying moving parts of making the sales promise a reality.

Because most plans for goal achievement have many components, project management software is a valuable tool for managing all of the underlying processes needed to move all aspects of the project forward on a disciplined and orchestrated pathway.

It helps the project manager and each of the participants plan and coordinate their efforts and see if all components are on track. There are many free and paid online systems to choose from, including from Microsoft and Google that will seem familiar to many.

Accountability tracking is key to goal achievement. The project manager must have the authority to hold everyone accountable for their required contribution.

REALNESS

When each step in the plan is spelled out with a specific date and responsibility, it becomes easy to ascertain if the action has been completed. It is also easy to measure the result.

Is the desired result being achieved by the implementation of the plan? If so, is the goal level appropriate or is the goal lower than it could be?

If the goal is not being achieved, where did the plan go wrong? Was the goal calculation inaccurate or was the plan inadequate?

What must be changed to reach the desired result? What did we learn from the attempts? How can we use those learnings to redirect our success?

This assessment phase is crucial because business plans are by nature dynamic and must be adjusted to meet company and market realities as well as outside influences.

Flexibility and adaptation to unforeseen circumstances are essential to entrepreneurial success.

With informed, realistic assessment of the planned efforts and results, future actions can be adjusted for alignment with higher-level goals and more efficient execution of plans to achieve them.

This constant assessment, refinement and reassessment cycle will continue to develop the management skills of your team.

A goal-based management system will simplify your business life by keeping your team focused on what matters to the company.

Through clarity of thought and planning, showing them the path for optimum time and resource management and clarity of communication, this will result in your dream: a self-managed team.

To read Part One, go HERE.

About the author

Diana Vollmer

Methods for Management (MFM) Inc.

Managing Director

Diana Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management (MFM) Inc., a consultancy specializing in drycleaning businesses. You may contact her at dvollmer@mfmi.com, 415-577-6544.

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