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As we approach the end of the year, many business leaders turn their attention to strategic planning. Where is the Company going? What are our options? When we choose an objective, how do we attain it? There are many questions to be answered while planning (which is best done as an ongoing, iterative process - not an event. More on that in a future blog post).
As you are thinking about your Company’s future, remember to incorporate your people into the plan. In a typical business plan outline, this section may be called the staffing plan or the people plan. It helps you to think through the human resource requirements that are key to success.
Consider the following “people-related” questions as you chart your course:
Do we have the right leadership in place? Who will ensure the plan is carried out? Who will ensure that timely communication to and from the front lines? There are many considerations when it comes to the right leadership. Clearly, a great plan is likely to fail without the right leadership. Start your people planning with an evaluation of the leadership requirements.
Do we have the right skill sets on the team? Think about any missing skills, and the best way to close the gaps. You could hire, partner, contract for the needed skills, educate your employees, or find other creative ways to get the skills you need. Do what you must; just be sure you have people with the capabilities you need.
Do we have the right number of people? A great plan with too few people will probably fall short. Size up the job, and staff up to meet the requirements.
Do we have the right mix of rewards? Your compensation program probably comes to mind first, which is fine. Just remember to think in broad terms, including base pay, benefits (health and welfare, time off, mileage expenses, etc.), incentive compensation (bonuses, commissions, perks, etc.) and other compensation categories. Don’t forget your performance management process and recognition programs (some of which may not require cash) when you think about rewards.
Do we have the right organization structure? Departmental lines and organization charts can have the effect of narrowing a Company’s focus. This should be a good thing, if the focus is on the right objectives. Ensure that your teams are structured to work well together; pay special attention to communication across departmental lines.
Do we have the right jobs in place? Is someone accountable for every deliverable your plan requires? Could any particular role be overloaded in the organization? Do the employees understand their roles, and how they contribute to the plan’s success?
Working through the answers to these questions will keep your plan grounded in feasibility.
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