Action Plan Building Series: Part 6 – Getting Your Team Onboard

Team Buy-In is Key
Team Buy-In is Key

We congratulate you if you have made it this far! To review what you’ve done so far: you've developed a SMART action plan, divided it into actionable steps, assigned ownership and responsibility, defined success, and, most importantly, ACTed (Action Changes Things) by executing every meticulous detail in the planning stage. Now that we are close to success, all that is left is to keep the proverbial machine running smoothly.

Team Harmony Through Honesty

When every department knows what to do, when to do it, and how to achieve success, it feels as if you are attending a beautiful symphony. Although this is rarely how an organization begins, it is crucial to keep in mind that overcoming obstacles as a team will bind everyone together professionally. A great approach is the "show, don't tell" mantra, which states that senior management leading by example has the innate effect of boosting morale and encouraging creativity and initiative.

Here are some tips that can help you manage your team more effectively:

  1. Get team input. A task is rarely set up for success when a project is handed down from management without consulting the team lead, department, or associates that are assigned to the project. In addition to inspiring the team to be task-driven and results-oriented, demonstrating your concern also helps to reduce ambiguity in the planning and decision-making processes. Be specific in your objectives while remaining realistic in your expectations and resources.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. After a task is communicated and agreed to, taking an extra step to clarify the goal, impact, and end result of the task will set the team up for success. Reiterating the objective will guarantee that everyone on the team is working toward the same result. Therefore, setting key performance indicators (KPI) is a perfect method to do this.
  3. Foster a collaborative environment. Encourage input from your team leads or project managers. Feedback and touchpoints shouldn't just be calendar mandatory, associates should feel comfortable documenting and suggesting improvements ad hoc throughout the project. Making sure the team has a suitable workspace that is free of distractions, as well as communicating an open management style, can encourage the team by assuring them that their proposals will be considered and, if appropriate, implemented.
  4. Be transparent. This applies to everyone in the organization, not just the management. If resources need to be reduced, it must be communicated. If mistakes have been made in either the planning or execution, they must be communicated. The fear of failure and punishment is innate in every human being, so it is paramount to foster an atmosphere where the team feels free to share both successes and failures. Instead of adopting a "You made a mistake, now fix it or there will be consequences" mentality, choose a response like "Let's figure this out together."
  5. 80% carrot, 20% stick. The "80/20" rule is supported by the Lean methodology and the majority of business processes.  It is more beneficial to reward success than it is to reprimand failure, and the latter should only be reserved for blatant irresponsibility or careless behavior. One common and highly effective management tactic is to watch the team and when one person excels at a task or significantly improves it, reward and recognize them in front of the others. This does three things: i. recognizes the person, ii. demonstrates what you are looking for to the team iii. motivates the team to receive further recognition in front of their peers.

Even in the absence of management or leadership, a cohesive team that works well together will begin to reward and recognize one another. This is extremely important for the continuity of the organization and the synergy between coworkers. When managers generously praise their staff, even when no one is watching, employees feel inspired to do the same.

In summary, after executing your plan, establishing a template of collaboration, documentation, and recognition throughout your team will help them to work towards achieving their dreams, and the organization's as well. Encourage collaboration, input, synergy, and transparency. Most importantly, clarify and reiterate KPIs and accountability to keep everyone accountable and on track.

We will discuss executing your action plans in Part 7 - Refine Your Action Plan.

Action Plan Building Series: A Road Map for Your Vision To Achieve Your Business Goals

Action Plan Building Series

Part 1 – SMART Goal Planning

Part 2 – Converting SMART Goals to Action Items

Part 3 – Accountability Measures through Assignments and Deadlines

Part 4 – Tracking Results through Milestones and KPIs

Part 5 – Going Beyond Planning to Execution – Action Changes Things (ACT)

Part 6 – Getting Your Team Onboard

Part 7 – Refine Your Action Plan – Monitor, Evaluate and Update the Plan

Lorette Farris

Lorette Farris

Business Strategist former investment banker, business broker, and m&a specialist. Today Lorette invests her time & expertise guiding startups & early-stage businesses as they start, build & grow.
Baltimore, MD