Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them toward a certain goal.
The first essential component of team performance is a unified sense of direction.
A unified sense of direction can best be summed up in the phrase one team, one direction. A unified sense of direction means that all the departments, teams and individuals that make up an organization are pulling in the same direction. Or to put it another way, everyone is singing from the same song sheet and is working harmoniously together to achieve common goals.
To achieve a unified sense of direction there needs to be an agreement at all levels on what the organization values, what it does, where it is headed and how it plans to get there.
Individual human potential is limitless and, as organizations are made up of human beings, the potential for any organization to achieve its goals is also limitless. An enormous opportunity to improve productivity and quality of working life, almost without exception, exists in striving for greater degrees of clarity and focus on what is important, where an organization wants to be, and how it gets there. There is much research to show that one of the major contributory factors to business failure is lack of planning.
Strategic planning is important because the future is unpredictable. However carefully we layout plans, certain things will undoubtedly come along that weren’t anticipated. Responsible business leaders, however, cannot sit back and wait for the future to control them. They need to take charge of their future. Many business leaders think planning is a waste of time and effort. They feel that their time is far better spent on present business activities, rather than planning for an inaccurately forecasted future. Usually, an organization with this kind of leadership doesn’t survive in the long term – the market place has become too aggressive and competitive. The organization whose leadership has clearly considered its future, and who have developed plans to get there, is the organization most likely to succeed.
Strategic planning requires that the leadership clearly define what they are trying to achieve, what obstacles they will face, how they will achieve their goals, what resources they will need, and how to make it all happen. Strategic planning is a way of becoming a master of your own destiny.
Most importantly, developing a business plan will help you compete more effectively in the market place, both today and tomorrow. It will provide you with the road map to becoming a healthy, thinking and profitable business. It will help you create the organization of your dreams.
Yet business leaders continue to avoid one of their most important obligations – developing and implementing a business plan.
The leader who views planning as a system, (in this case the strategic planning system) will realize that any plan will have repercussions on the entire organization: that plans need to be coordinated in every department; and that one department cannot be optimized at the expense of the total organization. In short, the leader who views planning as a system will be planning for total success, rather than isolated victories at the expense of the overall organization.
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
Stephen A. Brennen
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