It’s time to operationalise that vision! – Unicorns and Fairy Floss (Part 2)
My last blog, addressed the importance of defining a compelling vision of the future and I provided some thought-provoking questions to reignite passion in your business. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here.
Assuming you’ve answered the questions, your personal vision and the future of your business are now clear, and you’re making those visions come to life – RIGHT?
Hmmm not quite?
When the future should be brighter.
Often, the dreamers fail in the process of implementation between plans and action. This is where visions don’t turn into unicorns and fairy floss (that is, a life defined by fun, joy, the achievement of the things you want), it instead ends up as another ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ .
Have you let yourself and your team down yet again in grand plans that never get off the ground…?
What category do you fall into?
- You’re a great big picture thinker but don’t know how to define the steps?
- You’re lacking the prioritisation skills required to plan an effective sequence of steps toward your goals.
- You fail to consider and mitigate risks and issues in developing your plan?
- Your vision sparked so much enthusiastic excitement, that you tried to do everything at once and as a result, you ended up in a disappointing pile of overwhelm?
- The vision sounded great but putting into it action just didn’t have the same appeal?
- All of the above?
Colour me happy – it’s time to brainstorm!
My happy place involves a box of colourful Post-It notes and a serious brainstorming session to bring the visions to life! Working with clients this is also affectionately known as Action Plan Day! (If you’re not as excited as I am about planning, it might be that you just don’t have enough Post-It notes…)
If you’re going to implement an Action Plan Day I’d encourage you to bring key team members into the room to collaborate and add value. Share with them your big plans for the future and engage them to be part of the process. Once you’ve shared your vision, start to brainstorm all the possible projects, actions and to-do’s that could possibly be undertaken to achieve that vision. Ensure you allow time to identify any issues that may be encountered, together with any mitigation actions as part of the Action Plan.
‘If you want to go far, go together’
Your business does not operate in a vacuum. Whatever you do in one area, has an impact on another. Let’s consider a project such as a new marketing campaign. All going well, the campaign will see new leads coming into the business. That’s a win, but have you considered whether your sales processes are set up to ensure that you’re converting the right customers? Once converted, have you addressed how you will maintain your customer service and delivery standards? Have you checked your terms and conditions address any changes? What about resourcing? Will you have enough team members to convert the sales and deliver your product or service to your excited customers? What systems and processes need to be reviewed and upgraded to improve efficiency and ensure that as you grow, the wheels stay fully attached (as opposed to falling off)?
Don’t discount any ideas at this stage; allow everyone to contribute. This is part of the engagement process for your team and creates accountability when the projects are assigned.
Fuel your session with a little food for thought
- I encourage using someone to facilitate the discussion. This might be you, as the business owner, or it could be a trusted external person. Regardless, it must be someone who can dig deep and draw out ideas, issues, corresponding or conflicting projects and so on. A facilitator will also ensure that everyone contributes, not just the loudest talker.
- Although we do want to encourage free thinking in this brainstorming session, you’re steering the ship, so don’t be clouded or distracted by ideas that don’t align with your business vision.
- Don’t try to prioritise during the idea phase – just allow the creative juices to flow. Once you’re finished brainstorming, you’ll go through a prioritisation process.
- Ensure you have a “Parking lot” so that if you or your team get distracted by “today’s tasks” you can park it to come back to at a later date. This way you and your team stay focused on the longer-term vision of the business.
Beyond the ideas…what next?
You’ve got a wall filled with Post-It notes and you’re pretty chuffed that you’ve exhausted your ideas, explored all possibilities and have all the best ideas in front of you. So now comes prioritisation! But how???
In my next post, I’ll take you through some common prioritisation frameworks that might help your decision-making process. In the meantime, have a think about:
- What would be the easiest thing to do that would start to create momentum? i.e low hanging fruit.
- What activity would give us the biggest return on our time / energy investment – “bang for buck” so to speak?
- What are we avoiding that could actually create some real momentum if actioned?
- What’s one thing that we can do within a week to move one of the projects forward?
The idea around this approach, is that in order to keep the momentum, you must keep moving. Taking steps forward to operationalise the vision is the only way to make your vision become a reality.
End the financial year on a high!
We are rapidly approaching the end of the financial year. Now is the best time to revisit your vision and start to plan out the projects needed to move you and your business toward that vision over the next financial year. If you’re too busy to make time to plan, give me a call. I love helping business owners see the forest for the trees and actually work on the business.
What to do next:
I look forward to sharing the prioritisation frameworks that will help you determine which projects to take forward! If you’re not on my inspired mailing list, and you want to see the prioritisation blog in your inbox, then sign up here.