Have you ever watched a flock of geese soar through the air? Their synchronized patterns help them conserve energy, communicate and keep track of one another. Understanding and adhering to their patterns is a critical part of their survival.
If you are managing people, you have a lot in common with a flock of geese. On a daily basis you are faced with the challenge of synchronizing your team with the objectives of your business. Making sure that everyone puts forth the right amount of energy, understands corporate objectives and executes according to plan requires constant adherence to a preset pattern.
Determining the pattern is important and requires a lot of thought and discussion. Once the pattern is decided, you can achieve alignment throughout your organization by ensuring that department and individual goals, job descriptions and evaluation tools lineup with the corporate pattern.
Decide the time to start
If you are entering the final year-end quarter, then this is the perfect time to begin this process. Talk with your team about the objectives and goals of your department or business. If you don’t have objectives or goals, then you’ll need to create them. One thing to keep in mind is that objectives are a set of words and goals are a set of numbers.
For example, two objectives for my business include profitable growth and diversification of our revenue base. Our goals include our projected revenue and profit numbers for each line of our business. We also break down our customer base and set numeric goals for each line of business.
Once we’ve set our objectives and goals, we move on to developing strategies and metrics. Similar to the objectives and goals, strategies are comprised of words and metrics are comprised of numbers. Strategies should include important elements such as where the firm will target business and what products or services the firm will offer. Market segments and target audiences should be identified as well as geographic ranges.
The strategy section is also a good spot to determine where the firm will not do business. A few examples of strategic initiatives from my business include activities that drive toward profitable growth, our ability to manage resources, organizational effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
For instance, one of the strategies under our profitable growth initiatives includes developing and implementing a targeted commercial growth plan focused on attracting organizations conducting infectious disease research.
Develop a plan
This plan can be developed for one to three years or more. We focus our firm on a three-year period and fit the plan to one page. The process of developing and fine-tuning the plan takes a few months and should include the involvement of all senior management.
When the senior leadership has signed off on the plan, then each department should develop annual goals that align with the plan. Personnel within each department should work with their managers to develop individual goals that align with their department goals.
Personnel evaluations and bonus plans should incorporate these individual, department and corporate goals thus integrating the plan throughout the organization. Routine monthly or quarterly assessments and opportunity for communication should be scheduled to ensure that everyone remains focused on the corporate plan.
Adhering to this framework should result in a synchronized team that pulls together in the same direction.
Victoria Tifft is founder and CEO of Clinical Research Management, a full-service contract research organization that offers early to late-stage clinical research services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. She can be reached at [email protected]