Many organizations develop strategic plans and spend the time to outline the tasks, responsibilities, and timelines required to implement the plan, yet they are still unable to make a meaningful difference in the organization's achievements. This article is written to provide you with a framework to help manage the process of implementing your strategic plan and linking it to the day-to-day work of your staff.
Our framework for linking organizational and personal success is called PDP© - Purpose, Discipline and Perseverance©. We believe that these three qualities act as the foundation for achieving success in whatever you do.
- Purpose - is "a result that is desired to be obtained and is kept in mind in performing an action."
- Discipline - is the "training of the mind and character."
- Perseverance - is "to try hard and continuously in spite of obstacles and difficulties."
From an organizational perspective, the extrapolation of this concept ties nicely to your organization's performance management programs for professional and/or personal development plans.
Applying the Framework
The framework is easy to apply and basically consists of the following steps:
1. Complete your organization's strategic plan (if you don't already have an up-to-date one) using a process that builds support and commitment from staff.
2. Having clearly defined your strategic direction, meet with each of your direct reports and ask the following questions:
a. Which area of the strategic plan are you most excited about and would like to take responsibility for moving forward? The answer to this question sets the individual's purpose.
b. What do you believe you need to do to personally enable success of this initiative? Usually when someone takes responsibility for a specific project, we focus our discussion on the tasks and development of a project plan. Often the project plan lays out what others will be doing, with the individual responsible for the project assuming a role of project manager. The purpose of this question is not to eliminate the development of a project plan but to also have that individual personally assess what he or she needs to do to support success of the initiative. Having that individual undertake the process of personally determining what changes are needed will help internalize their commitment and in turn their discipline.
c. What information are you going to provide me with, and in what frequency and format so that I can ensure that we are making progress on this initiative? While the greater the degree of commitment an individual has to a task definitely influences his or her level of motivation, we still have to face the fact that "to keep doing what needs to be done" is a combination of internal and external motivation. Some of us are primarily internally motivated, while others are primarily externally motivated. As a leader in your organization, you are responsible for creating an environment that enables staff to achieve their highest level of internal commitment to their tasks. You must also ensure that processes are in place so that you can measure progress. Organizational culture supports internal motivation, while organizational processes support external motivation. Your role as a leader in your organization is to ensure that you have both the culture and the processes in the right proportion.
d. What are you going to do differently to ensure success of your initiative? We have all heard that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Asking this question helps your staff think about the way they have done things in the past, assess it, and determine if that is the best way or not. This does not mean things should change, but it does mean that each person who is asked this question can either justify the status quo or the changes they are making.
3. Having worked through the answers to each of these questions with your key staff, you need to ask, how will this be integrated into our organizational performance management system? If you have such a system, it is important to ensure that it is integrated if the staff is to believe you are serious. Not integrating this into your existing processes is a sure way of ensuring that it is perceived as unimportant. And, with the pressures to do more and more, anything that's not perceived as important will get dropped.
Ron Robinson is the president of ABARIS Consulting Inc. He can be reached at (519) 472-9788 or email@example.com. This article is provided free of charge, for information purposes only and is not intended, represented or to be inferred as providing advice. ABARIS Consulting Inc. makes no warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability for accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided in whole or in part within this article.
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