In my series on Facilitating Success, we’ve been looking at what to do when two months after a great strategic planning session, you’ve seen no evidence of progress on the new initiatives. So far, I’ve focused on boosting motivation by making each team’s success visible and making it easier to demonstrate success using smarter reporting tools that focus on the outcomes you seek. In this installment of Facilitating Success, I’ll describe how to modify the success-oriented tools from Part II to encourage engaging and meaningful discussion about how each new initiative is impacting and improving business operations.

Use Smart Tools to Drive Dialogue

Start by including information about anticipated cross-over impact and risk management into the original implementation plan.

  • Identify possible impacts to other initiatives, to other areas of the company, and to stakeholders. Hold discussions with colleagues early about how these issues can be addressed.
  • Identify risks facing the initiative and articulate mitigation plans. Involve colleagues from other areas of the business if they are affected.

Then, use a smarter reporting tool that directs discussion to how the cross-over impacts and risks are affecting the initiative and how they are being managed.

  • Include reporting fields that require teams to give updates on impacts to other areas, on risk management, and even on lessons learned. The emphasis should be a discussion of how issues were handled, what was learned, and the anticipated impact to operations.
  • Invite colleagues whose work has been affected to include information in the reporting tool and to give part of the update.

Benefits of An Engaged Status Report

Including colleagues in planning and reporting the problem-solving information in a status report generates a meaningful discussion of progress and success. Using the success-oriented tools to communicate about each initiative will lead to

  • making connections between the new strategic plan and the ongoing work across the company,
  • sharing lessons learned about how operations are challenged or improving as a result of the new strategic initiatives, and
  • spreading effective practices in risk management.

It’s not only so much more interesting than a dry report about due dates and metrics, the process and tools direct the teams to identify and share new strategies that are impacting and improving business operations.

Using this approach, the dialogue that began at the original strategic planning session continues through design and the implementation phases, keeps people engaged in working toward the original vision, and increases the overall success of the plan.

#strategicdesign #improveoutcomes #smarttools