Most executives and their teams agree that they should plan the future course and direction of their organization with strategic planning. This is to help them optimize the overall results, both top line and bottom line, for their organization.
How many people think beyond the basics of strategic planning to consider the deeper implications?
They all know they need to plan what they are going to have the organization pursue to meet their intentions. But what are the other impacts that strategic planning can have within the company? What longer term benefits are derived from the exercises involved in planning?
Good internal communications enhances strategy implementation.
A good plan takes into consideration the challenges and problems of other parts of the organization. Often leaders don’t anticipate the consequences that certain actions will have on another area in the company. Many times, in our client sessions, we have heard, “I never knew you had that problem.” Discovering unintended consequences that one set of actions has on another department can help eliminate problems and delays.
Improved communications enables leaders to anticipate the impacts future actions may have in other areas.
For example, when I was in the machinery business, we involved multiple departments in new machinery designs. First, we involved the manufacturing group in the design phase before the designs were finalized. This helped to minimize manufacturing problems and machining difficulties by optimizing the design to make the parts easier to machine. Second, the assembly group helped assure that putting the parts together would be less costly and quicker. Third, we brought purchasing in to assure we used optimal materials and components. Finally, shipping assured that we packed and shipped the finished items easily.
Because of these actions, we rarely had to rework these designs.
These new designs considered what might go wrong and tried to eliminate the problems and bottlenecks before they were enshrined in the designs. Because of the early communications within and among departments, the whole design process, from concept to completion, was easier with fewer problems.
This same concept, adapted to your own organization, could well be a key to better internal communications.
The resulting improvements could help you with your strategic planning. By exposing where your organization is not communicating as effectively as it might, your team can help reduce bottlenecks and barriers. You might eliminate the impacts of well-intended actions which result in unintended consequences.
When internal communications are effective and open, people tend to contribute to the improvement of processes, procedures and results. When they think their ideas are appreciated and valued, they will contribute more, resulting in better overall performance of the organization.
How well is your organization performing at communicating inside your company? Are information and ideas free-flowing or are there silos which tend to limit good idea interchange? If you are not seeing the kind of effective communications you would like, and its effects on results, I can help. Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-575-3193. Consider holding an inexpensive one-day workshop on Simplified Strategic Planning.
M. Dana Baldwin is Senior Strategist with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: email@example.com