Changing the Way the World Thinks about Strategy

M. Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant, CSSP, Inc.

Strategic Planning Expert

Strategic Planning Expert

Note:  This article is part of a series taken from Dana Baldwin’s article Improve Morale-Increase Motivation originally published in Compass Points in January 2003.  Although this article was written in 2003, these tips are timeless.

In Part One, we defined morale and motivation and said that one way to improve morale is to build trust between employees and the management.  In Part Two we discussed one way to build trust.  In Part Three, we discussed effective delegation.  In Part Four, we discussed several reasons why managers don’t delegate.  In Part Five, we discussed why some managers have a poor relationship with their subordinates.

In previous posts we’ve discussed what affects morale.  The other side of this coin is motivation.  How does one develop this motivation?  That’s what we will discuss in this post.

Clearly identify your expectations. Expectations are not goals. Goals are the final results you are shooting for. Expectations are the processes and activities needed to attain the goals.

Communicate those expectations to your people in whatever way makes their full understanding most likely. Depending on the situation, you might do this in writing, one on one, or in a group, or in some combination of the three approaches.

Be sure your people ask enough questions to clear up any misconceptions. Don’t just assume that because you told them, they will understand. Everyone comes at a problem from his/her own point of view, and what you understand something to mean may not be the same to someone else. Clarify until there is complete understanding.

Work with the individual or the team to set interim goals or waypoints which can be measured. Set dates for review meetings — keep them short and to the point or you may lose the others. This allows good visibility of the process and the progress to date, and good accountability for those responsible for carrying out the tasks.

Know when to step in and when to stay out. There is a real tendency for some managers to want to jump in and prevent mistakes. Others will allow those responsible for doing the job to delegate upwards, putting the burden on the back of the person who delegated the job to begin with. Either can be a mistake. A good manager will allow some mistakes, as long as they are within certain limits, so the person or people who are charged with the job can see what their mistakes are and learn from them. A good manager will also be available as a counselor to advise the team when asked, without allowing the team to push responsibility back up to the manager.

Another way to enhance motivation includes eliminating non-productive tasks or waste. As stated above, most employees feel themselves to be overburdened today. One way to lessen that impression is to analyze work, and to eliminate those things we don’t need to do, or to improve those things we need to do, but currently do poorly or ineffectively. Avoiding or eliminating waste is seen by the employees as a higher and better use of their time and company resources, and many will respond by working better and smarter themselves.

By having a good, well-developed strategic plan, effectively communicated throughout the company, the vast majority of workers at all levels should understand how their own efforts will have an impact on the success of the company. A well communicated plan brings the fundamentals into focus for most employees. And it gives them something to build on, for themselves. Knowing that the company has planned out where it is going, they will have a much easier time in establishing their personal faith in the future of the company. While this sounds somewhat idealistic, there is, in reality, much more to this than first meets the eye. When a person believes that the company he/she works for has a plan for where it is going, this brings a certain level of security to that individual. Based on that secure feeling, that person is more often willing to make a better effort, do the extra bit to make the company meet its goals and to be more successful. The snowball effect is real, and the company most likely will be more successful, given a realistically generated, effective strategic plan.

We will wrap up this series next week with some Strategic Thinking Points.

To learn ways to take your strategic planning to the next level please listen to our webinar:  Why my strategic planning isn’t working.

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at:

© Copyright 2016 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.

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