by Zach Montroy
Entrepreneurial teams don’t waste time. The most successful ones are typically lean, agile, and hungry. They make quick decisions and pivot when necessary. After all, the start-up world moves very quickly, and it’s easy to get left behind. However, there’s a dark side to lightning speed. If you move too fast, you run the risk of skipping over strategic planning and execution. And it’s through these strategic “holes” that your company could be leaking cash.
Losing Money Through Process Gaps
At first, you can see big benefits to speed…but as your company grows, the deficits will become apparent. In order to ensure your organization will survive and thrive in the longer term, you’ll need to employ strategic planning, execution, and accountability. This prevents you from missing opportunities and losing revenue due to inefficiencies and carelessness.
We’ve worked with many leaders who are experiencing frustration at their team’s lack of cohesion or direction, and the loss of revenue they’re seeing as a result. It’s not your team’s fault. It’s typically a lack of either strategic planning, execution, or accountability. The good news? This can be fixed on your end. The more challenging news? As the leader of your company, it’s your job to fix it.
What Do We Mean by Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning involves setting long-term goals and objectives and developing a road map to achieve them. When your team is aligned on mission, vision, and values, strategic planning can help your team identify potential obstacles and opportunities.
Here’s where you can identify missed opportunities for revenue. Are you using a customer journey that encourages repeat purchases, long term signups, or an increased scale of offerings? Have you determined your ideal client? Are you reaching them through the channels they prefer? Here’s where you’ll focus on the big picture – where are you now and where do you want to be?
Execution Plans Flesh Out Strategic Planning
Of course, the best laid plans come to nothing unless they’re actually executed. Execution plans outline the steps necessary to achieve the goals set forth in the strategic plan. They provide a detailed breakdown of who will do what, by when, and how. Execution plans help ensure that everyone on the team is clear on their responsibilities and how their work fits into the larger picture. It’s where the rubber meets the road.
Make sure you’ve assembled a team that includes folks who excel in creating these types of plans. As a leader, it’s ok to acknowledge that your wheelhouse may include a much more “zoomed-out” focus. The key is to integrate (and trust!) people who are skilled in execution. They will understand how to create a path that doesn’t overburden your team with inefficiencies.
Accountability is Key
While strategic planning and execution plans are important, they are only effective if there is accountability. Accountability means taking responsibility for one’s actions and holding oneself and others to a high standard. Without accountability, it’s easy for team members to become complacent or to let important tasks slip through the cracks.
In my experience, this component can make or break your organization.
As the leader, it’s your job to model appropriate accountability. Be the first in line to own your actions, apologize for mistakes, and increase transparency – starting with your own performance. Once you’ve established trust with your team, holding them accountable becomes easier.
How should you do it? It depends on your company’s culture and structure. You can use specific types of goal setting and check-ins, establish regular meetings to assess progress, and develop tangible ways to work with employees who aren’t meeting expectations. What are these ways? We’ve worked with leaders to teach them how to communicate effectively in the form of hard conversations, performance review plans, and even (in extreme cases) termination. Here’s where working with someone with a breadth and depth of experience can be very helpful.
Look for Support
You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re realizing that the gaps in your organization may be costing you, reach out to see how we might work together.