1000 Managers Turned Their Plans Into Energy!

    June 22, 2005

I bet you can’t tell me how leadership training and strategic planning work together to boost business results and energize performance improvements.

A recent survey of 1000 managers conducted by the UK-based Chartered Management Institute, revealed that organizations experienced, “improved business performance when [their leadership] development [programs were] linked to [their] business [strategic planning process].”

Why aren’t the energies generated by corporate leaders being used in developing, managing and adding value to strategic plans?

Put another way, how can organizational managers train, advise and encourage their people using the strategic plan as a guideline for making performance improvements?

Usually we separate planning from training, however, wise leaders see their plans as a blueprint for enriching, growing and nurturing the skills, attitudes and maturity of their people.

Guideline-1 – Enrich Their Experiences!

Inertia is defined as the tendency for things to remain the same. When we get trapped by the draining energies of inertia, our efforts begin to fail or our plans become stale and lifeless pieces of paper.

If you hope to break out of inertia’s grip and your feelings of frustration or futility, you must turn your plans into opportunities to develop and train your people to become leaders.

Show your people why the plan has been created the way it is. Tell them that the plan is a general indicator for direction and level of achievement – let them know that they will be responsible for making it successful.

Once your people begin implementing the plan, you can assess their ability to meet the challenges of its activities and objectives.

By supervising their performance on a biweekly basis, you could help them develop plans for self-directed and instructor-led learning exercises.

Self-directed learning could include reading, keeping a journal and taking low cost self-paced courses.

Instructor-led training might take the form of courses at your local or community college, web-based seminars, email courses or training conducted by in-house personnel.

Enrich their experiences by increasing their confidence and positive self-image!

Guideline-2 – Grow Their Domain!

We can use the planning process itself as an opportunity to generate energy and distribute those energies throughout the organization.

Those energies produced during the planning process should be identified, evaluated, captured and directed towards the refinement and execution of the plan.

When we speak of energy we mean a factor, force or influence which may be classified or fitted into one of the following categories or domains:

  • Creative – the acts of perceiving something new or of looking at something in different or radically new ways;
  • Innovative – the acts of trying out something new or in doing something in different ways;
  • Entrepreneurial – the acts of approaching or offering an idea or object in new or different ways
  • Social – acts involving teamwork, collaborative efforts, forming or arranging networks, partner ships/alliances;
  • Systems-related – where a system’s design, analysis, operation or support process facilitates advancement, etc.;
  • Educational – the acts of training, development, self- directed learning, and leveraging human capital assets.
  • In a nutshell, you can transform your strategic planning process and its improvement or implementation into a series of leadership skills training and development exercises for any of the above categories.

    If you first grow the domains of your people you can hold them accountable for refining and supervising the plan!

    Guideline-3 – Nurture Their Maturity!

    Leadership development is an essential ingredient in nurturing or realizing a state of maturity and credibility.

    You can never reach that stage of development without having the ability to:

  • Take responsibility for your actions,
  • Commit to staying the course through good times and bad;
  • Accept the authority of others without rancor or back- biting [when they act honestly, ethically and responsibly];
  • Admit a need for help, support or guidance;
  • Act in congruence with your values, ethics and morals.
  • Use the objectives of your strategic plans as your guideline and blueprint for coaching, counseling, mentoring and consulting your people.

    Provide your people with a safety net by giving them authority to implement the plan but be sure to nurture them towards developing into mature, seasoned leaders.

    Over 90% of those executives surveyed by the Institute saw the connection between strategic performance improvements and their leadership development efforts – you can too!

    Those managers agree that the “skills acquired at work are held in higher esteem than natural [leadership] talent” – they overwhelmingly believe “that on-the-job experience is more valuable than natural [leadership] ability”.

    Using your strategic plans as the blueprint for your leadership development efforts is a wise course of action that’s sure to deliver real performance improvements.

    “Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution.” – Stephen Sondheim, composer

    Your plan expresses your vision, your leadership training program energizes the execution of your plans.

    Remember, enrich people, grow their domains and nurture them into maturity – do those things and you’ll have a successful strategic plan.

    Copyright 2005, Mustard Seed Investments Inc., All rights reserved.

    Bill Thomas teaches leadership techniques using strategic,
    innovative, evolutionary-focused concepts – his 2-Volume,
    how-to Manual, “Strategic Organizational Leadership: Create
    & Deliver Fail-Proof, Breakthrough Plans”, uses an
    energizing process of group development to produce value
    empowered results! “See it, Plan it, Lead it, Improve it!”