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Strategic Planning & Staff Engagement: A Two-Step Approach
While implementing a strategic plan, Executives and managers often ask the question: "How do we engage our staff?" Sometimes this question comes up when developing the strategy map, measures, and initiatives, but it also arises once these pieces of the strategic plan are complete and leaders want to know what's next.
If you subscribe to the notion that leaders do the strategic planning and staff execute it, then getting a buy-in from the people who will make the plan come to life is critical. There are a few ways for leaders to engage staff so they feel included in the process without letting the strategy development execution process get out of hand. With this surefire two-step approach, you'll be on the right track.
The 2 Steps To Strategic Planning & Staff Engagement
First, run some "brown paper" sessions with staff where you blow up the strategy map, post it on a conference room wall, and ask a group of about 20 staff to place sticky notes on the themes or objectives where they see their daily work fitting into the strategy. If employees have a hard time finding where they fit in, it can spark a useful, more in-depth conversation about the strategy map and objectives. Additionally, it may help reveal some areas where staff may be spending time on a project that is not important to the long-term strategy of the organization.
Use this exercise as a starting point. Once the enterprise strategic plan is complete, managers and supervisors should ensure that all employees understand the strategy map and scorecard.
The second step begins as you ask your staff to create their own "personal" strategic plans. To create their personal strategic plans, staff should select three to five objectives from the enterprise strategy map they feel they can help the organization achieve. They should aim to keep it "balanced" across the four perspectives of the map and they should establish cause-and-effect relationships between their contribution and the strategic results sought by the organization. To do this, they should develop personal objectives that align to the organization's objectives and then measures and targets they will use to determine whether they are achieving their objectives.
Once employees have developed this personal scorecard, they should have a conversation with their supervisors to ensure it aligns to the goals of the organization and is within the employees' influence. This exercise will both enable staff to contribute to the strategy management framework and establish their connection to the enterprise strategy.
If you want to engage staff (and keep them engaged) during the strategic planning process, continue these conversations and have regular check-ins. Make sure they know the strategic plan will not be something that gets put on a shelf and forgotten about and neither will their "personal" strategic plan. Since employees will be executing your strategic plan, whether or not you engage staff may very well make or break your strategy.