One of the most important activities I like to take my teams through is planning or once called victory planning (thanks Jay Tyler). For those of you that know me or worked with me will understand…..for those of you that haven’t, I will share a few ideas. The planning process is a minimum full day exercise, bottoms up creation of vision, mission, core values and metrics we will use to define success. The entire group must agree at every step to proceed. A full day may seem like a lot of time, but the journey of creation is as important as the outcome. These often go late into the evening.
The first one of these I ran was in 2007. I have since run or trained others to run over 30 of these sessions. I firmly believe the local leader must facilitate, guide and spark ideas when there is pause in the action. The job is to keep the group on track. But, must never have an opinion. This is very important, to ensure the people speak their minds and participate…..and to truly make this a bottoms up exercise. It would be easy for the leader to decide on what the “right answers are” and assign them out.
Planning begins with the vision for where we are going, and the courage to write it down.
At the beginning of my 3rd quarter as an EVOTEK employee, we ran our planning session as part of our annual retreat. The full company, all employees, spent the entire day, brainstorming, debating, negotiating and ultimately agreeing on what would be most representative of our company. I am so very proud of our team for what they came up with.
I believe putting the responsibility (and opportunity) to create the vision, mission, core values and overall plan, in the hands of those who will be represented and affected, is one of the greatest leadership gestures a leader could make. In nearly every one of these events, there is a moment, when the entire group is on their feet, engaged in what looks like a heated debate, wrestling on which values best represent the group. For me, that is when I smile….as “we have arrived.” A group of professionals, passionately negotiating among themselves on the values that represent them – completely selfless – completely for the love of the game.
We are well on our trail to $100M….It’s going to be a fun ride!!