The Importance of Having a Plan When Building a Winning Team Part 2 of a 5 Part Series by Emily Adams

“A goal without a plan is just a wish!”

Building a winning team At my company, Fresh Revenues, we like to use this quote, originally written by the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “A goal without a plan is just a wish!” This quote highlights the first component needed in a simple blueprint for building a winning team, which I outlined in my first article on this topic entitled “Managing a Winning Team Starts with the Right Personnel.” Generally speaking, the plan or vision for your organization will come from your leadership. Perhaps within your organization you are both the leader and the manager. If this is the case, it is all on you to provide the vision and to develop a plan. Be sure to clearly outline how your team can help you bring that vision to fruition. If you are a manager within an organization that has a leadership team, encourage leadership to provide you with a powerful vision and a well thought out plan of how to achieve that vision. Here are a couple tips to consider:

Communicate with Clarity

Possibly the most critical piece to having a plan is to openly communicate it with clarity. If your team members do not understand what the long-term vision is for your organization, how can they apply their individual strengths and talents make it a reality?

Set Specific Goals

I recommend having both short-term and long-term goals as part of your plan and share it with associates at all levels, every day. Be clear and specific when sharing. Remember that you are communicating critical elements of what needs to be daily, weekly, monthly, and annually to successfully fulfill your plan.

Make Time for Sharing

Conveying a strategy may not seem difficult, but the truth is, in many cases this is where managers fall short. You have invested tremendous time and effort to develop your plan. Take the time to strategize on how to effectively communicate it. In doing so, you will be increasing the probability of your message being heard by everyone, which in turn will result in generating buy-in. The well-known American businessman and one-time Chrysler leader Lee Iacocca once said, “You can have brilliant ideas but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” One client I worked with had a vision and a plan but forgot to communicate this plan to their team of associates. A critical component of their plan included a short-term goal of hosting a successful community event. They purchased radio time, advertising space in the newspapers and had lots of marketing materials printed and distributed throughout the community, even within their own establishment. What they forgot was to communicate the specifics of the event (simple things like date, time, how tickets could be acquired, etc.) to their staff. So when a customer would inquire about the event, no one other than the management had all the details. All the time, energy and outlay of cash was wasted because those customer-facing associates did not know what was going on. Sure, a handful of the associates took the initiative to get more details, but it is safe to assume that many questions went unanswered. The end result was resentment from the staff for being left in the dark; lousy turnout at the community event; and a waste of valuable resources. Clearly and sadly, by forgetting to communicate their plan to staff members, they missed the mark. There is no mistaking the value of having a plan and communicating it clearly but that is only the first step in building a winning team. The second step will be the subject of my next article entitled “Building a Winning Team Requires You to Keep Score.”