Create a Tighter, More Focused Strategic Plan
Have you ever asked yourself, with all the hours and hard work your team puts in each week at your agency, why you don’t have more to show for it? More progress, more impact, more revenue, more client successes? Or worse yet, has your board ever asked you, with all the resources you have, why you’re not hitting your goals?
As a leader, what do you say? You’re working hard, your team is working hard, clients are getting the services they need but still, there is little progress to show for it all. What happened to the impact that should have followed all the hard work?
Why is Your Agency Not Hitting Your Goals?
The fact is, there are several reasons your agency may not be hitting your goals. Fortunately, as the leader, you can fix those problems. All of the solutions are under your control. The reasons for poor performance might be:
• You may not be adequately supervising and managing the volunteers and team
• Your team and the volunteers may be unclear on what their role is
• They might not have all the tools they need to get the job done
• Your strategic plan and this year’s goals may be fuzzy or just plain weak.
Rather than running around your agency micro-managing people (and driving them nuts, if not right out the door) or making small changes on the fringes of your operations, I suggest you take a look at your strategic plan.
Is it big and daring enough to excite your team? If not, your plan may be a poorly disguised copy of last year’s plan. No one gets excited about redoing the same thing year after year. Especially if it isn’t producing the impact you and your team were looking for.
If you feel your plan is bold and exciting, then maybe it is not sufficiently clear on what there is to do. What are the measurable elements that should help pull everyone’s thinking and effort toward’s your goals?
How Can You Fix Your Strategic Plan?
Plans can be tightened up, clarified, or made grander with just a couple of staff meetings. This will require a few things from you as the leader, though. You’ll need to lead the meetings and acknowledge the plan you “sherpa-ed” through the system is not working. You’ll need to convince them that you need frank and honest feedback from them on how to make the plan more workable.
This means you’ll have to just sit there and take notes without pre-judging ideas or criticizing those who have suggestions.
Following that session, which may leave a mark or two on your ego, you’ll need to go back and evaluate what they said with an open mind.
In all likelihood, they will have many good ideas you have not thought of nor could have seen because you don’t spend a lot of time working at ground level anymore. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. You are paid to lead the agency, not perform the execution itself.
I’ve been through this kind of event and came way relieved and impressed by how much the team cared about how we were doing. In fact, by humbling myself and admitting that I needed help, I actually grew closer to the team and unleashed a powerful effort to make things right.
Do not be afraid to unleash your team when things are not going well. They know you don’t have all the answers, regardless of what those leadership books you read might have told you.