Monday, September 21, 2009

Just say it.

If you google the words strategic planning, balanced scorecard, or other related business words, you will find more sites, white papers, books and briefs than you can imagine. And I have to admit, I have read most of them, or at least skimmed them. I have definitely applied the concepts. The focus on my past 15 years has been helping the leaders of companies develop plans.

Well, now I have a new mission. And it's pretty exciting. My new mission is to help people talk about it. And that is even more important than the most eloquently written plan.

The truth is, most people don't care about words like business plans, balanced scorecards, corporate governance, risk management, budgets, business intelligence, or project management. Most people care about the the thing that they do every day. They don't need to know what the business plan says. They only need to know what it means to them in their job. Most people don't care about the corporate risk profile, they only need to know what they are supposed to be watching for. Most people don't care about the budget because they just want to get paid. And most people do not care about future economic projections and latest interest rate trend. They only care if they have a job.

So I have been thinking about this. What are the words of the every day people? How can we translate these nebulous concepts into every day things?

The answer I think is to focus on the audience. First of all, business plans, balanced scorecards, and risk management are for the shareholder typles. Boards and bosses care about that stuff. These kinds of documents are written to be working documents that are used by executives and high level senior managers. And these documents are used to report progress. These documents are very important because they are the road map for the entire organization.

But the real people - AKA, the people who come to work every day - need a different kind of message. They need to hear about the plan in every day language.

For example, instead of talking about efficiency, let's talk about how we can do things better. Instead of talking about engagement, let's talk about how we can get more involved and motivated. Instead of talking about client satisfaction, let's talk about doing a great job for our customers so they come back and see us again. Instead of talking about values, let's talk about the way we are toward each other.

To me, it's pretty simple. It's the golden rule, every day.

I would challenge each person to think of the place they want to be and help build that place through their actions. I would challenge each person to think of how they like to be treated, and treat others that way too. I would like to challenge each person to make the best of their own talents every day. I would like to challenge each person to get involved in his or her life, rather than watching it pass by.

A job doesn't have to be a negative experience. We bring ourselves to it everyday. But the words we use matter. They need to be the words of the people who come to work.

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