The Eighth Commandment Of Strategic Planning: Follow Up On Your Action Plan
Jacob M. Engel Forbes Councils Member
If there is one major flaw that I see in many organizations, it is that there isn’t consistent follow-up on the goals that were agreed upon.
Many organizations will spend the time defining the goals and then creating tasks, but as one client told me, the challenge is that as we get into the thick and thin of things, we sometimes lose sight of what was supposed to be accomplished, by whom and when, and we “forget” to evaluate the outcomes against our goals.
Remember the rule: Inspect what you expect, as what you inspect gets respect!
If your people do not see you following through, they will tell themselves it’s not important. In order to achieve your goals, you must continuously refer back to them and have your key performance indicators (KPIs) mirror the goals.
Then you need a follow-up software (I prefer Asana) where you will track all goals, broken down by tasks with dates and names attached to it.
In my weekly meetings, we will refer to the goals and to the tasks. By continuously doing so, you will create a culture of transparency and accountability.
Transparency is created when people share around the table the priorities they’re working on so that everyone understands what everyone else is working on, even if it’s not their department. Accountability is created when everyone shares their priorities on a weekly basis and commits to certain actions every week.
In the third commandment, I speak about a husband-and-wife team who has tripled their sales and profits in less than two years by following this system.
They have their weekly meetings and everyone shares their priorities and their challenges. It transformed the company into a results-oriented culture with a focus on helping everyone be successful.
I told the CEO that the hallmark of a great meeting is when you don’t know who the CEO is — meaning there is great interaction across all levels and people are following through on their commitments to the point that the CEO is just listening and applauding success (by the way, a great motivation is for everyone to applaud a job well done).
We did employ another productivity hack as we were experiencing high growth and we needed to keep the momentum going, so we started doing a daily huddle, which was very helpful in keeping everyone on track.
A daily huddle is short but very focused on the priorities of the day and any challenges or roadblocks that are holding back a person from achieving their priorities.
The second part of the plan is to keep on referring back to the goals. We have discussed previously that the first step is to identify our one-, two-, three-, four- and five-year goals.
Our KPIs should reflect how we are achieving those goals, and if we’re not achieving them, what went wrong. Too often, companies only realize much later that something is off and months — sometimes, years — go by before it’s corrected.