Last week, we looked at the difficulties many businesses face in making time for strategic planning. There’s so much in the urgent and the everyday that can get in the way of long-term goals, so here are some strategies to help.
1. You’ve got to make time, generally. Leaders are often reluctant to let go of tasks that could be easily delegated out of fear of adding to employee workloads. But a dedicated conversation with any staff member will help identify what doesn’t interest them, as well as what is most time-consuming in their day – and by using this information, you can find an outsourcing partner to take care of this workload. By outsourcing what you can, everyday, you could free up staff time. Even one hour per staff member per week – that’s time that can be used for big picture planning.
2. Block out a set time to work on strategy – whether it’s once a year, once a quarter or 30 mins every morning. Explain to everyone involved its importance – lock in the dates for staff and communicate clearly about it with clients. Look for quieter times in the annual cycle – don’t expect employees to be able to focus on strategy if they are distracted by a current deadline. Most importantly, put on those out-of-office notifications and put phones on silent.
3. Budget for it. Big thinking can benefit from a change of scene and a change of scene might involve venue hire, transport costs and accommodation costs. Including strategic planning time in your budget will also demonstrate what a priority it is to your team.
4. Get in outside help. The longer it’s been since your business last took the time to strategise, the more exhausting the idea of jumping back in can be. So at least the first time around, look for an external facilitator. An added benefit of having an outsider run your first session is that your team are more likely to be candid in their responses.
5. Look back. There’s no point strategising without reflecting on what got you to where you are. What’s working? What’s not working and why? What are some changes you can implement in the near future or a bit further down the track?
6. Look forward. What are your business’ strengths? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water; make sure the things that bring staff and client satisfaction are a part of your short and long-term goals.
7. Communicate. If your strategic planning is just for the leadership team, then program an additional time where this information is passed on to the whole team via a regular meeting,or access to the written strategic plan. It’s important for team morale that people know what they’re working towards on a daily basis.
8. Commit to ongoing strategic planning. The minute you walk out that door, emails and meetings will threaten to swamp you again. Don’t leave that first strategic planning session without the next strategic planning session locked in. What will be on the agenda for next time? What key performance indicators will you be assessing?
Committing to making strategic planning a priority for your business is a big step. In SBA Legal, you’ll find an outsourcing partner ready to take on your Legal Process Outsourcing, leaving you with more time to focus on the parts of your business that really matter. SBA Legal offers onshore, offshore or a combination of outsourcing. If you specifically require an Australian-based legal professional our sister company SBA Legal Solutions can help.