An executive coaching client suggested that “everything in her company is in disarray and nothing is getting accomplished.” As I began questioning her, it was easy to understand why. Current projects for this organization include:
- Restructuring a large department while finding a new leader for it
- Opening two new branches in different towns.
- Acquiring another company
- A major remodeling project at headquarters
- Preparing for a major bi-annual meeting to be held in four months
- Putting together a succession plan in anticipation of the CEO’s retirement in a few years
Not only are there several major projects in the works, the CEO often loses track of what he has told his team, who is to do what, and how much progress has been accomplished on each project. In fact, on one of the new branch openings, three people had three different opening dates as their goal.
These projects all fit into the organization’s strategic plan. This is a perfect example of how strategic plans can become derailed and wind up on the shelf in the supply closet collecting dust. But wait, there’s more…
Not only is the executive team engaged in these larger projects, the head of the department that needs restructuring left after only 18 months and the work for that department has been divided between three other departments. So, three of the executive team members now have extra work they were not expecting dumped on their respective desks.
Of course, each executive team member is also operating their own departments, managing people, and satisfying customers. Even those routine tasks have been a challenge as they just doubled in size about two years ago, changed their core technical system, and installed a new phone system that’s down more than it’s up. This team has jumped down a rabbit hole where weapons of mass destructive lie in wait. These include…
- Lack of accountability and follow-up. No one knows who is responsible for what.
- There is no real action, only chaos.
- The plan has no structure because nothing is measured.
- Systems are not in place. Therefore, there is no consistency
- Lack of commitment. People become discouraged and disheartened. This can ring the death knell for any strategic plan.
- Lack of communication. This is how the vision gets lost.
- No leadership. ‘nuff said.
Strategic plans are high maintenance and require constant care and feeding. If a life line isn’t thrown out, this organization’s strategic plan is going to remain in the rabbit hole with the weapons of mass destruction and die a slow, painful death. Clearly another change – and strategy – is in order.
Enter the project manager. This organization needs someone to keep track of these projects and help coordinate activities surrounding them. “Sarah” the training coordinator may be good at coordination, but not at such a high-level handling sensitive information surrounding the team’s projects. If an organization is not large enough to hire a certified project manager, the executive assistant might be a good choice. This is someone who is (or should be) skilled at organizing and coordinating and knows how to handle sensitive information.
If this team plays its cards right, this strategic plan can be rescued from the rabbit hole, projects will be back on track, goals will be met, and the strategic plan will be alive and well. I mean, like, its bottom line will multiple like rabbits! (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
Graphic Credit: BigStock.com Copyright: Dazdraperma