Articles on: Action Planning

Action Planning Best Practices - Organizational Vision

Organizational Vision

Your employees need to understand where the business is going and how it’s going to get there. Your employees need to see agreement and alignment between your strategies, the values you promote and your corporate behavior.

Craft compelling mission, vision and values statements. You have to have a good story to tell - one that starts with the customer and clearly describes how your organization will delight the customer. Your story needs to be told concisely, in just a few words. When you can do this you have your mission. The next phase of your story needs to describe the future. Step back and look at the big picture then look to the future – 3 years, 5 years, 10 years. Create a shared vision. What will be different, the same? Be specific. Discuss the vision with people. Pull out varying perspectives. Take time to write a compact description that portrays a memorable picture of the future. When you have it, you have your vision. Onto the values - what do you care about, what do you value? What are the attributes that you want to promote in your leadership, in your workforce? Don’t take this lightly. Identify only the values that you really will exemplify, reward and promote at every opportunity. They should be few in number. And each one should be easily linked to the mission and vision.

Create a compelling business strategy. Your mission, vision and values statements provide the context to continue, to frame your strategy. Your strategy is your roadmap for making your visions a reality. A compelling business strategy starts with the customer. It puts depth to the mission statement. This is what makes you different from your competitors. It needs to be easily understood. It engages all stakeholders – customers, investors and the workforce. It needs to be bold, challenging and define what it is that your organization will do better than any other. It clearly spells out your value proposition and plays on your core organizational capabilities. The business strategy is something that provides guidance and focus for effort, resource allocation, decision making and behaviours.

Clearly communicate the strategy, vision, mission and values to employees. Choose your words carefully. Create a shared vocabulary that is used consistently in all messages around strategy, mission, vision and values. Talk the talk. Reinforce the message and vocabulary at every opportunity. Be consistent in using the language and use it often. It’s nearly impossible to over communicate about strategy, mission, vision and values if you’re using focused and targeted communications. Doing so will promote buy-in, commitment and involvement around the business strategy. When everyone is on the same page there is less friction, more efficiency and greater engagement.

Ensure that employees understand and support the strategy and adopt the values. Put as much effort into communicating strategy and values to the workforce as you do in designing a key ad campaign to reach customers. What important information do employees need to understand the strategy? To align their efforts to the strategy? To do their jobs effectively? Establish context around the message. Why are they important? How will they help us achieve our mission? What’s the competition doing? How will you respond? How will accomplishments be measured? Who is accountable for what? Use as many media and channels as practical to communicate. Hold all leaders accountable for teaching, explaining, modeling and rewarding the right behaviours.

Define talent requirements for strategic execution in terms of competencies. Organizational capabilities embody the knowledge and skills of an organization; they’re the things that your firm does well or perhaps not so well. You need to clearly understand the organizational capabilities required to give you a competitive advantage and lead to successful implementation of your strategy. Drill down from organizational capabilities to the specific leadership competencies that will define success for your firm. Every strategy, given a particular industry context, location, and market, has a set of required leadership skills and competencies. For each element of the strategy, consider what kind of leader or manager will best be able to execute this element. Define your leadership requirements in terms of competencies. Competencies give you the vocabulary, the precise language you need to define talent requirements. And you can’t manage the talent proposition unless you’re clear about the requirements. Competency success profiles that are aligned with your strategy will provide focus for a broad spectrum of talent processes – selection, development, deployment and succession.

Assess current competency levels of your workforce. It is important to regularly assess your workforce for the key competencies. Begin at the top level. Create an assessment program for the top three levels in your organization. Assess each person against the competencies you have identified as critical for success, and get your managers engaged in working with individuals to create personalized development plans to fill gaps.

Acquire talent strategically from outside the organization. It takes time to develop competencies, and if the competencies needed to execute your strategy aren’t sufficient in your current workforce, time will work against you. You will likely need to consider hiring or partnering with the talent that will give you a competitive advantage and enable execution of your strategy. Use objective, validated assessment methods when selecting talent to get the best fit and avoid the costs of derailment and rehiring. You will need to internalize the ability to build competencies that are in short supply and not easily replicated by your competitors.

Develop internal talent strategically. Align your learning and development function with your business strategy by addressing the gaps in your core leadership competencies, the competencies that will drive your strategy. Make these competencies the centerpiece of training and development in your organization. Be realistic about the limitations of training. Most competency gaps can only be partially addressed by training. People learn most of what they know by doing on the job and by working with others. Look to development activities such as special assignment to complete the picture.

Ensure that all talent management practices are aligned with the business strategy. It is not enough to create a great competitive strategy. You need alignment. Your people must understand and share a common view for the future. They must share commitment to the strategic goals. Have a focus to align everything to your strategy. Your processes, your organizational structure, policies, procedures, compensation, rewards, hiring, performance management, succession planning, decision making, communication – everything! Ensure that your top-level business goals accurately capture your strategic intent. Every individual contributor should have goals aligned with and in support of the team. The team goals should be aligned with and in support of the department, and so forth.

Define and implement key measures of talent management practices. You cannot manage without measurement. Measurement gets people’s attention. Start with your highest level strategic objective; break it down into measurable, actionable goals that address each of the four quadrants of a blank scorecard. In the employee quadrant, use meaningful, results-based measurements that capture a variety of talent management effectiveness criteria tied to your strategy.

Ensure your leadership team are seen as trusted leaders. The most fundamental leadership skill is the ability to trust and to build trust. The importance of trust cannot be overestimated. Leaders who trust others create the condition for positive things to happen. Great leaders have the ability to trust others, to build trust among others and to engender trust in themselves. To get employee buy-in, the executive team must be seen as trustworthy.

Updated on: 11/18/2022

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