Engage Yourself and Your Team for Strategic Results!

In past posts I have shared the development of the Collaborative Leadership process and the Strategic Planning aspect taken directly from my experience in working with top level executive teams, and organizing and attending their strategic planning meetings where collaborative discussion takes place and strategies are created.

However, during the ensuing year, I’ve noticed that implementation of these strategies has lagged. There seems to be an absence of engagement in the process and in the results; and so I began emphasizing the importance of including more focus on engagement as part of the Strategic Planning process for greater team buy-in and participation.

The teams I am working with today are taking more time and resources to focus on all aspects of collaboration as a way to enhance leadership. In addition, by bringing engagement into the Strategic Planning Process, together, we have created strategic plans that involve every leader’s participation in developing a clear strategy that promotes a sense of ownership and commitment from everyone involved in the implementation. This is critical to achieving greater results as both a leader and a team.

In my last blog post I described Four Engagement Questions to ask your team in your next strategy session. Today I want to continue to generally describe the strategic planning component of the Collaborative Leadership model, with emphasis on engagement and describe the first high level question in more detail; Creating the Future: What behaviors do we want to bring forward?

To begin the Strategic Planning Process, acting as consultant/coach I meet with individual team members, starting with the Executive Leader of the team and continuing with each team member, confidentially discussing each of the 4 engagement questions.

Next, the feedback and suggestions from each of these questions is shared during the subsequent offsite meeting as general comments without names, and copies are distributed to refer back to. As we discuss the feedback, it becomes clear where the priorities lie for both short-term and longer term strategic planning.

And, since all team members have contributed in advance to identifying the strategic priorities through the individual interviews, they arrive engaged and ready to continue at the Strategic Planning Offsite.

Obviously participation in the the Collaborative Leadership model takes commitment and time spent on the collaborative process so that the result creates an environment where open, honest discussion can take place.

Let’s take a closer look at the first of the 4 Engagement Questions:

Creating the Future: What Behaviors Do We Want to Bring Forward?

This question begins the process of greater engagement and allows for a focus on behavior in the leadership group, as well as staff who interact with internal and external customers.

Often behavior and how to work together are at the very core of getting the necessary strategic results. When you give focus to desired behaviors it affects your communication, accountability and the desired outcome of strategic planning.

It’s important to remember that the methods you create for discussion, decision making and implementation within your organization are as important as the intent. Ask yourself and your team these methodology questions:

  • How does your team behave in pursuing organizational goals?
  • How do they communicate these goals with their direct report teams?
  • How does your behavior and communication affect your customers?
  • How do you communicate and discuss policies within the organization?
  • What behaviors do we want to bring forward overall?

I have been inspired by the time I have spent individually with each leader I m working with today and the depth of participation and brilliance that I have heard. Once people communicate their perspectives and priorities freely and individually, it becomes much easier to say them to the team. The value of each person’s perspective and experience during group discussion is clearly demonstrated and clarity is reached so that the team priorities can be set with team engagement.

To begin this process of engagement in your organization, ask yourself the above questions and individually in your one-to-one meetings, as well as team/staff meetings, to determine what actions and behaviors maximize your strategic results. I think you’ll be very interested in the answers you get!

Please let me know if I can assist in your next Strategic Planning meeting.

Do you have team engagement experiences or challenges you’d like to share? I’d enjoying hearing from you; please be sure to leave a comment.