How much do I tell my team about our Company business plan? This was a question recently asked by our soon to be graduated members of the Scaling Up Club and it’s a good question, too much and you may be over sharing, too little and you are left being the only one implementing the tasks ahead!
If you’re a small business owner, it does feel lonely at the top, you probably are a 2 level Company, you and everyone else! Everyone reports into you, so who do you bounce ideas off?
Who can you have the “what next steps to take” conversations with? In larger Companies, there is usually a senior level of accountable management to include in the Company business planning, in 2 level Companies this layer is missing.
Once you have your business plan, do you give all the details to the team, explaining the financials of your business and its strategic initiatives or do you keep this to yourself and use it to guide the business decision ahead over the coming quarters and years?
The decision is yours of course, hiding the Company’s future to yourself is never the right solution, but how can your team get behind you if they do not know you have a plan and you don’t engage them in what this is?
There is a middle ground – in Gazelles there is a tool called the “Vision Summary” this is a great tool for many reasons:
- It allows you to top line go through the core of your business – values, purpose and brand promise – these 3 areas are the DNA of your Company, you hire to these, you fire to these and you build and grow your Company on these. These are the areas your team members need to be behind and even take part in creating.
- BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal™) the inspirational and aspirational north star that you Company is heading towards. Team members need to know that the Company they have joined has a vision of where it ultimately is heading, that they have joined a Company that has a plan and a future. A BHAG can be extremely exciting and can keep employees with you on the journey as they are keen to see the BHAG become a reality.
- The strategic steps you are taking to achieve the Company BHAG, the key initiatives the Company will make the main thing over the next 3/5 years, 1 year and next quarter. This shows that you have broken down the journey into stops and was of measuring success at set periods of time
- The KPIs that each team member will need to achieve in the next quarter plus the 2 critical numbers you will be monitoring them against. Here are your simple KPIs that you can measure your team against.
In one document, you can capture the Company plans for the coming 5 years and are able to set everyone within your Company KPIs, priorities and critical numbers that you are measuring them against weekly.
Here is a document for your weekly meeting, weekly one to one meetings and for the company / departmental dash board. Each employee can clearly see how their KPIs are related to the Company vision, their inputs into how the Company will progress and you have a simple way of measuring each employee.
Employee measurement can sometimes seem to be extremely confusing and complicated to both you, their manager, and the employee themselves. It really is not, the simpler you make it the better – the shorter the conversation the better and the employee completely understands their involvement in the Company growth and why they are being asked to do what you are setting them.
Traffic lighting the achievements helps you and the employee see where they are letting the side down. It’s also helps to keep you, the manager on task – Company Leaders can have a habit of drifting and changing their ideas, confusing the team members by changing minds mind way through a quarter, leaving projects half finished. Weekly reviews of achievements to date keep everyone, even you the manager, on track and helps to “keep the main thing the main thing”.
Putting the results into a Company wide and shared dash board encourages peer pressure and some form of competitiveness – always good to see and sometimes allows for peer team management, as humans tends to never want to let team members down.