Lead Up

3 Signs Your Strategic Planning Process Is Incomplete

3 Signs Your Strategic Planning Process Is Incomplete

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español- >3 señales que su estrategia de planeación está incompleta

Strategic planning is the development and implementation of various operational plans by companies or organizations, with the intention of achieving objectives and goals. These plans can be short, medium or long term. A sound strategic planning process includes three elements. If your organization does a poor or incomplete job on any of these areas, your process is incomplete and won’t get the results you expect.

Answer the BIG strategic planning questions. These include: Who are our customers; how can we better serve them? Who are our competitors; how can we beat them? What do we do best; how can we build on that edge? What are potential scenarios to consider for the future; how will we prepare for them? How can we defend against threats and seize opportunities? Some organizations come up with brilliant answers to these questions but can’t take them to the point of clear initiatives that get done. The BIG questions are worthless if they don’t result in a few clear, compelling strategic initiatives.

Set a few clear priorities and an overall strategic theme. The best outcome is to identify the most important priorities for the organization. Starting with a long list of potential priorities, the organization discusses the relative value of each, and hones in only a few key priorities. This discussion also leads to greater clarity about the big strategic planning questions, especially about what the organization should do best. During this phase, many organizations settle for a long list of priorities. This has the benefit that nobody feels excluded or insulted; however, it makes it highly unlikely that the organization will get anything done completely.

 Implement. The biggest complaint we hear about strategy is that it never seems to get executed. A few reasons why:

 - Neglecting to commit essential resources to the strategy, including capital, training, technology, and people.

- Failing to take things off the plate of busy employees, and instead just stacking more work on them. - Having lack of will to stop old initiatives that compete with the new.

- Not setting clear roles, responsibilities, accountability, and rewards systems.

- Giving up after a few setbacks or initial resistance. A sound strategy spends as much time on implementation planning as it does on the more glamorous work of answering the key strategic questions and setting priorities. Some organizations are strong at asking the big picture questions but fail to follow up. Some set too many priorities, and can’t say “no” to good ideas, despite limited resources. Which of the above areas is weakest in your organization?

 

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-Blanca Robinson, owner of VIVA Consulting Group, is an Executive Coach and Business Strategist. For more information, visit www.vivaconsultinggroup.net.

The Struggle to Engage and Motivate Employees

The Struggle to Engage and Motivate Employees

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español->La dificultad de involucrar y motivar a los empleados

Every leader faces this problem. In fact, it is a billion-dollar problem! According to Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, and 25% of employees report that they are actively disengaged. The costs associated with this are staggering in terms of lost productivity and the cost of replacing employees. Engaging and mobilizing employees can be a daunting challenge, but a few simple behaviors can make a huge difference to improve engagement.

It is frustrating to have to read minds

Many employees are frustrated because they feel like they must read their manager’s mind. They don’t know how they are doing and how they can improve their performance. The annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out, and that event is so stressful and formal that the environment is not always conducive for improvement.

Spans of control contribute to the problem

This situation is not completely the fault of management. In some organizations, spans of control have become so large that managers must complete formal performance reviews monthly.

The solutions are simpler than you think

There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. They cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact. For instance, one opportunity that many leaders have – even at the C-level – is to give more frequent, informal feedback about how each employee is doing. That way, everyone in an organization knows what is expected of them and how they can get better.

The 7 questions

There are seven simple questions every leader must answer and communicate to employees frequently. Small, informal conversations about performance go a long way, especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details.

What do I expect from you?

What are you doing well?

 What, if anything, could you be doing better?

What, if anything, do I want you to do better?

What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments?

What will happen if you don't improve?

How can I help?

While all these questions are important, the last question is especially important. It shows the employee that the leader cares and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame.

Blanca Robinson, Owner of VIVA Consulting Group, is an executive Coach and Business Strategist. For more information, visit www.vivaconsultinggroup.net

Leading When You Are Not in Charge

Leading When You Are Not in Charge

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español->Liderar sin estar a cargo

Have you ever had thoughts like, "l bet I could solve this problem better, but the boss never asks me what I think; how can I influence my manager about what to do; what difference does it make if I like that or not — I have no power. I'm not the one in charge!"

While the statements above can be thought-provoking or feel very true to you, I am going to challenge your premise by saying that the only true statement is "I'm not the one in charge" (at least technically).

You can exert influence even when you're not the boss; it's all about learning how to Lead Up.

How, you might ask, can this happen? Simply put, being a leader isn't about something you have; it's about how you act and the attitude you have, coupled with strong working relationships.

Successful leaders know how to inspire others and find ways to unlock hidden potential in others.

They are willing to do what others won't. They personally invest in the work they do. This is especially evident in working with the boss, manager, or supervisor.

Having a strong relationship with your manager is critical in ensuring that you work together effectively, so that your influence up is exerted, and your voice is heard. If there are conflicts between you and your boss, or if you do not like your boss, there are two immediate and distinct questions:

First, are you willing to take 100% responsibility for the relationship? Often, in a conflict we tend to become victims and blame the other person or expect them to change. Like it or not, in the workplace, it is up to us to make the relationship work and to take full responsibility for our impact and the results we are achieving. We mustn't sit back and wait for the other person to act.

Second, are you willing to make the relationship work? If not, then you are effectively choosing to play the victim role by sitting back and tolerating the situation. Much like in personal relationships, such as marriage, any relationship requires an ongoing, conscious choice to make it work.

There are three things to keep in mind: 1) The relationship with your manager depends on both a strong business and personal foundation; 2) It is up to you to take full responsibility for the quality of the relationship with your manager; and 3) To strengthen the relationship with your manager, you need to fully understand what he or she values — both personally and professionally — and help him/her succeed.

Your first thought is probably why should I care if my manager succeeds? Keep in mind that even the CEO of a company has a boss — could be the biggest customer(s), members of the board, or some key employees. Everyone can benefit from taking time to assess their relationship with their superiors and how to improve it.

It is important to understand what drives your boss. How does he/she define performance, how does your boss measure success, how does your manager make decisions? The better you understand your manager's aspirations, communication and leadership styles, and definitions of performance, the better you can develop an accurate picture of your relationship with your manager. From there you can identify ways to strengthen the relationship. Are there certain behaviors from colleagues or other employees that are sure to upset your manager? What does your manager expect you to achieve? How would your manager say you are performing? How does your manager expect you to communicate progress, issues, and results? If you don't know the answer to these and other questions that may surface, either review them with a colleague

or plan a way to ask your manager directly. If you feel uncomfortable having a conversation with your manager about how he or she defines success, that says something about the quality of the relationship. Please keep in mind this is not how to suck up to your boss.

These are guidelines of how to understand what drives your manager to succeed so you may then influence decisions, ensure your voice is heard, and become an asset to your organization. This is how you can Lead Up.

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Publisher's Note

It’s 2019!

This is the first time we start a calendar year, and here at VIVA NOLA Magazine, we are so excited about what's coming in 2019. We are fully energized to take on the new year, especially because of new partnerships that are taking place.

Partnering with New Orleans institutions is a big deal for us because they are a testament of how the community in general has embraced our bilingual content, and how we are achieving our mission of connecting communities and crossing over markets. We begin this year planning a special event for late Spring that I think New Orleans residents will absolutely enjoy. I cannot wait to share the details as everything starts taking shape.

With that being said, there are many things that come up between publications, so I highly encourage you to connect with us via social media to stay in the know and find out what we are doing first. We are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as @vivanolamag, and on Instagram you can find us as @viva_nola. Our main goal for the year is to share and connect more with our audience. We will continue to work hard to become essential to our amazing community.

For now, let the King Cake season and the Mardi Gras countdown begin!

Looking forward to a fun 2019,

AnaMaria