The big show is nearly here. Spreadsheets are being completed, slides created, and endless meetings held in preparation for the presentation to senior leadership: Here’s what 2022 will look like. This is the plan to which we will commit.
How many employee hours do you calculate are invested in a 15-minute presentation? The number is enormous when you consider the pressure employees are under to build confidence in those to whom they report.
Too often, though, the exercise of creating and presenting plans isn’t optimized (at best) or is a charade (at worst). These and other dynamics erode effective planning and waste massive amounts of time:
- Leadership teams at the top that practice faux alignment
- Inconsistent or ineffective interpretation of data used in forecasting
- Lack of transparency and the hiding of essential data others need to plan effectively
- Plans that are built on the assumption that functions across the org will effectively collaborate with one another – when there is no plan to build this organizational capability
What do you do at your level in the organization if you believe the planning process may be a game of charades?
Complaining and pointing fingers is an option – but not a very good one if you’re going to live your values. The better option is to build a network of collaborative leaders who have the discipline to ask and answer questions like these:
- Here’s my priority. What’s yours?
- Here’s what we need to do and here’s what we’d like to do. What’s on your list?
- Here are some behind the scenes data we have that may be of interest to you. Can we expect you to be transparent as well?
- What contingency plans are you building? Here are ours…
- What do we agree we’ll do the moment we determine we’re off target?
- Ultimately, what’s the single greatest way you will measure success? Here’s our definition…
The leaders of (nearly) every organization have good intentions. None of them woke up this morning and said, “I can’t wait to lead everyone in charades!” The fact is: Humans are greatly influenced by the system within which they operate. (Translation: If you were one of the leaders in your organization, there’s a decent chance you’d struggle at the job, too.)
It’s worth remembering: It’s not the organization with the best plan that will win 2022. Today, success goes to the company that can quickly adapt their plan – and align the organization’s resources to executing the discovered path forward.
That’s where you come in. Your leadership – no matter your role or status – matters.