Producing a list of goals for 2020 can go one of two ways. You may produce some inspiring and ultimately achievable projects, or you may end up with an uninspiring collection of spreadsheets with unattainable aims.
According to surveys, one of the most common complaints among CEOs is that their strategic planning processes yield relatively few new ideas, compared with the amount of time spent on them. The problem can often be pinpointed to a lack of collaboration, which can lead to your company failing to hit targets in the long-term.
Employees start to feel they’re not involved in how the company is moving forward. They don’t feel any “ownership” of the goals and end up taking an approach to their work which lacks real involvement. Management and team priorities can end up out of sync as a result.
The solution lies in talking to your team, listening to their responses and taking action to rectify any issues as quickly as possible. Set aside the time to meet with your team over a coffee and talk openly about the past year and how you think it has gone. Ask people’s views on what worked and what didn’t and focus on the takeaways for 2020 based on this information.
To bring your team closer, there are a number of key questions you should be asking if you want to gain some key insights into their views on the way forward.
1. What one thing did our company excel at in 2019?
Acknowledging what worked over the past year is something to build on for 2020. By developing along the same route, there’s a real opportunity to excel and potentially have a record year. Whether it was a new product, revamped marketing techniques or better shipping times for orders, pinpoint what spurred your biggest growth and work out how to build this up further.
2. What didn’t work over the past 12 months?
Not every initiative is a success and something that looked good on paper may not have worked in practice. The secret is not to make the same mistakes again. Learn from your failures and instead of thinking they were all negative, take a positive slant by understanding what you must never do again and taking the opposite path.
3. Did any success stories particularly reflect our growth in 2019?
It’s time for everyone to get out their calendar and look back over the clients, meetings, projects, work trips and any other corporate events over the past 12 months. Ask individuals to tell everyone what they believe the team has achieved. Then, everyone around the table can add their thoughts on how you can build on this in 2020. Asking and reflecting on the simple questions can spur useful discussions.
4. What or who were the driving forces behind the company?
Competition and technology are often the driving forces behind new initiatives. The company may have adapted and come up with something new and innovative. Ask employees their thoughts on the projects and people who kept you ahead of the competition in 2019. Maybe you have new management, or a different organisational structure influencing your corporate success? Understanding where the changes are coming from, and where you’re going, is the first step towards success.
5. What’s the main reason your employees turn up every day?
Apart from the obvious, discuss what the business has to offer in terms of staff engagement. Do employees feel valued, both as individuals and as part of the team? Do they feel their voice is heard when it comes to important decisions? Asking employees how they feel about the office culture can be very useful. If the meeting is less corporate and more relaxed, with a “no blame” ethos, you’ll find the attendees may be more willing to open up about what they really think.
Looking back at how you achieved your biggest successes over the past 12 months and further developing this can help prepare for what will hopefully be a record 2020. It will help you to aim high and reach achievable targets, while making sure everyone is on the same page.
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