Your Role in Effective Business Planning: Keep Things Moving Forward
An important part of effective business planning and strong leadership is to keep things moving smoothly. So whenever you are working with a group of people and progress becomes stagnant, you feel bogged down, or when a high level of agreement on a certain point is required, it might be a good idea to take the details off-line.
When this happens we recommend the following:
- Call a break and talk to the boss – or better yet talk to the 2 or 3 people that are causing the stagnation, and ask them how they propose to solve it so the group can move forward. This works like a charm.
- Ask who would like to work out the details and bring back a proposal to move forward.
- “Park” the item to the end of a meeting, or a later date.
- Suggest that you will take the item off-line, and propose a solution.
- Put a place holder in your document, and keep writing. Highlight it so you remember to come back to it later.
- Strive for “conditional agreement”.
In a recent executive planning session, an exceptional facilitator asked our non-agreeing participants to list the conditions for success that everyone would need to see in order to agree to the proposal on the table. This not only highlighted the hesitation in the room, but also allowed things to move forward.
The Importance of Signing-Off
Keeping progress moving, especially when working with a group, is a crucial part of effective leadership. With the arrival of a new year comes the opportunity for business professionals to start the year off strong. A great way to do this is by getting sign-off’s (whether it is formal or informal), which will ensure everyone is in agreement before you move on.
By knowing where things stand, you will have a much better chance of moving on to the next stage of the process, rather than people trying to constantly revisit the stage you just finished. Getting a sign-off can be as simple as sending an e-mail that says: “I am looking for approval to proceed based on where we are right now, which is…”
If you reach agreement in a meeting, write it on a flip chart, and have everyone grab a marker and sign their name. If there is any hesitation as to the agreement, you will hear about it.
As the leader driving the process, you need to consistently test that you still have a strong mandate to move forward, and getting sign-off’s at major process points is not just a good idea, it is absolutely critical.