Are you the kind of business owner who hosts a bi-annual weekend strategy session where your whole team brainstorms where the business is, where it should, how you’re going to get there, and then promptly forgets everything by Monday?
Do you have a huge strategy file in your office harking back to your start-up days that’s gathering dust? Most importantly, do you have any idea how closely aligned your actual business’s activities are with the official strategy, and do you ever adjust your strategy based on new developments?
According to Garrath Rosslee, turnaround management specialist and owner of Retention Strategies, business strategy shouldn’t be a complicated file that never gets opened. “It’s not a document outlining your eventual goals,” he says. “It should be a living, breathing thing that is constantly evolving.”
Start by understanding that strategy sessions can be as long as a few hours and as short as five minutes.
“Develop a schedule that accommodates a range of meetings,” Rosslee advises. “The main idea is for you, as a business owner, to be in touch with your management teams, for them to be in touch with each other, and for everyone to focus on getting their teams to meet the key deliverables you have outlined.”
Five-minute weekly catch up sessions allow you to track who has met their deliverables, who hasn’t and why. This is the first and most important step in picking up on any problems.
If a department or team is consistently not delivering, you will not only notice, but be able to take action. Is the reason behind the lack of delivery your expectations, their delivery or something outside their control?
“Often business owners and upper management are not even aware that something is not running smoothly (or even happening at all) until it’s too late,” he says. “Weekly planning and strategy sessions can keep you up to speed.”
Monthly sessions should be longer, and you should be using them to develop the deliverables mentioned above. “Give your management team an opportunity to discuss what is and isn’t working,” says Rosslee.
“Make sure they have a safe and comfortable environment to speak in. If they are scared of you, they won’t be completely open about how things are running, and this will ultimately damage your business.”
The biannual sessions are yours and yours alone. Based on all the information you have gathered from your more frequent meetings, develop a road map for your business. It’s not unlike your original business plan, and it doesn’t need to be long.
“In fact, it should be a short two-pager working document that reminds you to keep your eye on the ball,” Rosslee adds. “It should show you where you’re going, and how you’re planning to get there. You can’t measure if you’re meeting your goals and targets if you didn’t have any to begin with.”
Don’t focus on the little things
Having frequent strategy sessions doesn’t mean you should be focused on the little things though. “As a business owner, don’t forget that you aren’t an employee who shouldn’t be doing the daily tasks of employees,” warns Rosslee.
“As a business leader you are a people manager. You need to give your mangers and employees key deliverables, and then monitor that these take place, and review how they impact the business. Your business is strategy,” he concludes.
For more information contact Garrath Rosslee at [email protected]