Devising a plan to implement a work schedule or financial goal requires outlining steps. It's important to think through the process to ensure that a plan is doable. Changing steps early on can mean the difference between success and failure. In a work setting or business situation, it's vital to stay in reality about what is working and what is not. Because time is a precious commodity, it's crucial to utilize time wisely to reach short-term and long-term goals associated with a plan.
Enlist the ideas of specific employees for a work plan with clear objectives. Create a first rough draft plan in a computer file and print out hard copies. Define the long-term goals and time frames for reaching them. Ask employees to help shape detailed strategic planning by bringing hard copy notebooks to a meeting.
Help employees ensure each long-term goal or objective will be reached by devising short-term goals that will support each endeavor. Start with a plan that is not overly complicated. Write a plan for enlisting new clients for example. List five actions each employee can take over the next week to get the plan moving. Write the plan with simple instructions, such as having everyone make 20 cold calls over the next few days.
Keep in mind that employees must be able to visualize how they will participate. Help them see themselves successfully implementing the plan so that enthusiasm will be high. Break down the plan into tasks and goals that will work in reality. Never create a difficult plan that will cause everyone to fail or become confused.
Offer rewards to those who have success with the plan. Give a dinner for two, for example, for the first employee who engages a new client for the company. Give a bonus check to someone who enlists the most new customers during a given week. Make the plan into an enjoyable experience so everyone responsible for its implementation will want to participate.
Ask employees why the plan is not working. Stay open to changing any methods that are not yielding results. Encourage all to speak up and be completely honest. Fix business problems and reach goals by truly figuring out the roadblocks preventing success. Offer to review skills needed for making cold calls, for example, or allow employees to ask for a critiquing session of how they manage calls.
Take a survey among employees to devise a list of plans that need implementation. For example, ask employees to structure a plan for increasing sales commissions. Or, ask employees to write a plan to remodel the office space to make the work environment more productive. Never overlook the value of asking employees for their opinions on every issue.
Don't overlook creating a team for discussion vs. a hierarchy. New hires can have great ideas for technology or enlisting sales that a 20-year executive might not consider. Brainstorm for plans by addressing the biggest challenges first and foremost. Don't, for example, work on a plan to hire new people if present workers are deeply disgruntled. Instead, develop a plan to help present employees succeed before changing anything.
Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.