In this sports mad country of ours we probably have the most exemplary examples of strategic planning and leadership to learn from.
Take a look at Team NZ - our America’s cup heroes. As you watch them go from one end of this incredible vessel to another working in synchronicity how do they achieve such amazing feats and come out winning? How does each member of that crew know what they should be doing at every single moment of the game?
What sort of leadership skills does their captain Peter Burling have to get them to perform at their absolute maximum? With the pressure of a whole nation on their shoulders what sort of strategic planning have they done before they’ve even hit the seas?
Strategic planning, whether it’s winning in sport or winning in business, needs the same approach - what do you want to achieve, what role does each person in the team play, what skills need developing and training and what leadership intelligence work best for the team.
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The All Blacks don’t just step out at Eden Park and expect to win just by dreaming it. They have trained, they have sacrificed and they have had to deal with the highs and lows that come with the game. Last but not least they have a strategy so every single team member knows what they are driving towards.
Tip one: Get together, ask the hard questions and write it up in a shared space.
Strategic planning starts with strategic thinking. If you want the whole team to be on board it’s up to the leader to encourage ideas from all participants that start with open questions. Brainstorming ideas is a great way to create a positive team atmosphere where members feel valued. Very soon all those fresh ideas will be displayed on your game board and you’ll feel a sense of renewed energy and buzz in the room. Game on!
Tip two: Set your objectives clearly, review the competition and focus on creating a do’able plan
“Where are we going” is an opportunity for exploration and innovation. Doing the “same old same old” and not keeping up with the competition is risky as is change for changes sake.
Strategic planning is where you come together to map it all out. It is a time for openness and discussion but you have to be very clear what your primary outcome needs to be.
Just like the All Blacks this is also a time to look at the opposition - what do they do well, what perceived weaknesses has your team identified and therefore what can you do better? What gaps can you weave your way through to get to the top of your game?
Tip three: Don’t be afraid to ditch a few ideas that came out from the strategic thinking phase. You need to maintain a sense of togetherness as well as make the actual plan do’able.
Remember, if one wins we all win so that needs to be the primary focus.
Now you have your goals and objectives set realistic timeframes, delegate to the best person for the job and keep the encouragement flowing. This phase requires lots of energy and inspiration so what tools do you have that will keep those brains sparking, the adrenalin pumping and actions met?
Track and measure results, monitor financial results, keep the team fully informed of developments and when you discover what’s working - do more of that!
Tip four: Even the smallest steps will reap rewards so as long as everyone keeps momentum you’re heading in the right direction. If something’s not working, don’t be afraid to discuss why and move on swiftly. It is part trial and error but with clarity and purpose the try line will appear.
“I don’t believe in magic, I believe in hard work” Richie McCaw
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