The best plans are worthless if no one but the planning team knows what is expected in the upcoming year. You need to get the full company aware and as excited as you are by the goals you have set. There are three aspects to communication that you must do in order to get people at all levels of the organization engaged and focused:
1. Company All-Hands Meeting
The first step in rolling our the Annual Strategic Plan is to call an all-hands meeting and get in front of the company and share the details. Don’t let the company leader do all the talking – let the people who are accountable for each part of the annual plan share what they intend to accomplish. Talk as much as you feel comfortable about the numerical targets, and talk about the key improvements you will need to make. Talk about what help the company will need from the various departments. Ask for questions of clarification and ask for the thoughts and feelings of the full team. At the end of the meeting, the company should be clear on the year-end destination and how you plan to achieve the targets set. Hopefully, the staff is engaged and excited about the year ahead.
2. Keeping Score / Tracking Progress
In an effort to try to keep everyone on board as the year unfolds, you need to find ways to keep score and share the progress with the full team. This can be done with dashboards (either electronic or out on display), and progress reports at meetings during the year. Giving people regular (at least weekly) feedback on progress is the best way to keep them engaged and motivated.
3. Repeat Yourself Relentlessly
Another powerful tool to keep people engaged is to remind them regularly what you are trying to accomplish during the year. Business leaders have a mistaken belief that they should only have to communicate things to their teams once, and the teams should just get it. That never happens. Like in parenting, business owners need to simply their messages, and repeat themselves relentlessly so that their teams can remember what they need to do. You can communicate the message verbally in company meetings, through the company newsletter, and through any number of specific progress emails that could be sent during the year. By repeating yourself relentlessly, you dramatically increase the odds of your team remembering the goals for the year and staying engaged enough to help you accomplish them.