When working on a strategic plan, one of the things any leader will tell you is to include many voices. Including many voices doesn’t mean multiple people from the same department or executive suite, it means many voices from across the spectrum. Have people that represent all the departments involved with or impacted by the strategic plan. Have people that represent differing opinions, experiences, ideas, demographics, and time with the company. And one of the most critical voices that are often left out? That of a person that objects.
The amount of input that can come from an employee opposed to the plan can be valuable not just for the strategic planning but also to get a glimpse into other issues occurring in the company. Are there basic employee needs and support that is not being met? This can be a time for all departments to learn about it and look for solutions. Also, getting those opposed to the plan to be on board with it will increase buy-in from everyone.
So why so many other voices? To get an accurate understanding of the company. One department cannot paint a full picture of how the company operates and what it needs. Having a group work together will give a sense of connection and community, as well as a commitment to the plan. This might be the first time that an hourly employee has ever been in a room with an executive, much less has their voice be listened to and considered for input as much as the executives. People are more likely to be committed to a plan in they have “skin in the game.” Whether this is their own participation or participation by proxy (someone they identify with, has the same job title, etc.), they will feel represented in the plan.
Some experts argue that the process of planning is more important than the plan itself. Think about this when getting a group together to work on a strategic plan. Creating a diverse group will allow for many voices to feel heard, represented, and appreciated by the company while giving the company information to build a better future. That is a win-win.
Having an outside consultant facilitate your strategic planning session can also add an extra voice to the conversation. An outside consultant can ask hard questions, illicit feedback from the quieter individuals in the room, and offer insights from other companies who have experienced the same challenges. They also offer the opportunity to have someone not involved in the office politics - with no baggage or conflicts with people in the room - to lead the session. Sometimes that outsider can bridge gaps!
If you are interested in learning more about the strategic planning services that Bauman Consulting Group offers, reach out to use at firstname.lastname@example.org.