Keep your eyes on your fries

For all the focus on internal alignment that I wholeheartedly support in planning with teams inside large corporations, keep in mind that there is a trap in there. Depending on what business you are in, it is possible to spend too much of your time focusing on corporate programs and ignore your core business.

When choosing your annual thrusts as a team, think of your planning as being broken into 3 types:

1) Supporting corporate priorities, goals and achievement (aligning to where the company is moving)
2) Team change plans (improving how we do what we do)
3) Choosing the business and growth imperatives and how we’re going to deliver them (the business)

Depending on the leadership style, teams often get stuck ina rut by leaving one of these three aspects of planning along the wayside.

Trap 1 – By ignoring the corporate priorities, the company loses its ability to align the resources to the plan. This effectively removes its ability to steer the organization in any clear way.

Trap 2 – Team can be focused on delivering on the business objectives and pay attention to thhe corporate direction, but don’t stop to integrate new ideas into how they run their business. This results in stagnant approaches and ultimately waning market relevance over time.

Trap 3 – The final trap is to align to corporate initiatives and to manage the needs of the team but lack the context of good market and growth goals. This is probably the most frustrating of the three traps as it results in lack of real purpose and the highest level of confusion of the three.

If you’re struggling with some aspect of your planning or in the creation of clear direction, take a look and make sure you’ve covered all three of these aspects of planning.

Creating a taller ceiling

What limits the potential of your team’s plan? Quite simply it’s the people in the room. This isn’t because of inteligence, but because of attitude. Before you get defensive, hear me out.

Think about limitations for a minute. When you believe something, it automatically results in assumptions that often have a limiting effect on other areas of your life. These assumptions can be based on anything from professional experience right back to what your uncle told you when you were a kid. That’s why it’s important to challenge these limiting assumptions from time to time.

There are certain realities we need to face and work with in terms of resources, personal capacity, but what we’re truly capable of is often much larger than what we get. I think it’s important to challenge your assumptions so that you can create a clear compelling vision that has less limitations on it. From here, you can intersect what you want from your potential with what is truly possible. Great things are possible for those who are willing to make it happen AND who have the capability to believe in their ability to make it happen.

Now, think about what your team’s conception of it’s potential is. As a leader, you need to create this clear and compelling picture for people to buy in to. When they can believe it’s possible, you’re likely to see it happen.

Take a minute and think about something you want, but that you’re not likely to achieve. What assumption is that based on?

Look around for the artificial ceilings in your life and your office and give it a good shove – straight up.