As a consultant and a vintage vinyl album collector, I recently stumbled upon a treasure trove of wisdom from the past that perfectly intersects with my professional pursuits. In this article, titled "Organizing Your Plans and Planning Your Organization," I share insights from the 1970s "A Nation's Business Executive Seminar in Sound" records. These timeless principles are relevant today, particularly as we reach the midpoint of the calendar year and seek to align our strategic plans and employee goals with our organizational needs.
Even in our digital age, the importance of establishing priorities remains unchanged. To ensure that everyone understands what is most crucial at the moment, consider conducting a mid-year check-in. Distribute blank sheets of paper during a team meeting and ask each participant to jot down the organization's top three priorities without discussion. Collect and compare the responses, promptly resetting expectations if significant variations arise. Additionally, reinforce alignment by regularly reassessing individual employee priorities during weekly or monthly check-ins.
Poor organization can hinder even the most active endeavors. Once priorities are clear, high-performing organizations and individuals translate them into tangible goals and develop realistic action plans. Regularly review team and individual goals, ensuring that everyone comprehends "what success looks like" for each objective and tracks performance against these markers. Facilitate monthly team goal reviews with a well-planned agenda, dedicating time to analyze progress and address any challenges. Similarly, establish a bi-weekly or monthly cadence for individual goal discussions to maintain focus and accountability.
Understanding how time is allocated is essential for effective leadership. Encourage leaders and managers to review their calendars and color-code meetings and time blocks related to their top goals. By assessing the percentage of time spent on priorities, insights into productivity emerge. Managers who dedicate at least half their time to their goals tend to achieve them more consistently. For those falling behind, explore potential adjustments in their activities, additional support requirements, or capacity evaluation. Engage in open discussions to strategically allocate time and avoid being overwhelmed by urgent but less important matters.
In our pursuit of excellence, we must heed the wisdom of the past.
As Samuel Johnson said, "Individuals need to be reminded, more than they need to be instructed." Thus, as leaders, it is crucial to mentor and guide our organization, teams, and employees towards optimal performance. Continuously emphasize the significance of prioritization, clarifying goals, and effectively managing time and talents. By incorporating these timeless principles into our practices, we will unlock long-term success for our organizations.
Dan Gonder, President/Owner of Strategic In/Sight Partners and Vintage Vinyl Enthusiast.
Dan specializes in strategic advisory services, team and executive training programs, process improvement and executive coaching. Additionally, Dan is an inaugural member of a new professional network of Patrick Lencioni and the Table Group - CAPAPRO (which stands for the Consultant and Practitioner Alliance). As a member, Dan receives ongoing, exclusive professional development, tools, and training directly from Lencioni and his team at the Table Group about how to best help clients utilize their proven approach to achieve organizational health.