Make Your Company its Best: The “What’s” and the “How’s” of Achieving Success
By Richard Voreis
Company goals (also known as top priorities) state what the company wants to accomplish during the business year. Employee action plans (also known as objectives) state how the employees will support those goals to achieve success. The most successful companies fol-low this process every year. To ensure your company’s success, start by establishing how the action plan will be accomplished. This is one of the most important guidelines. Here are some things to keep in mind:
• Action plans state how objectives will be accomplished;
• Don’t assume the approach to accomplishing the objective is obvious; and
• A step-by-step approach of saying how is always best—especially with inexperienced employees.
With respect to action plans, generalities don’t get the job done. Here are some examples that are too general:
• “Increase revenues” doesn’t say how to make it happen, and (literally) when revenues increase by $1 the goal has been accomplished.
• Saying “finish projects on schedule” is something already expected. Instead, say exactly when this will happen.
• “Improve the project-management process” doesn’t explain how it will happen and offers no understanding of what will be done; and
• Phrases such as “contribute to improved teamwork” and “contribute to improved internal communications” aren’t specific in telling employees what they need to do.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Remember the old KISS saying, “Keep It Simple, Stupid”? It applies to employee action plans, too. When establishing these with your employees, verify mutual understanding at the start of the process so there are no misunderstandings. There’s another not-so-old saying that applies here as well: “Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.”
Also, make sure action plans can be evaluated easily. If no one can evaluate them to clearly know what’s being done, then who knows if the results are being achieved? And, make sure everyone—employees and managers—knows what to expect. Another old and wise saying to re-member: “What gets measured gets done!”
GO BEYOND THE EXPECTED
When establishing employee action plans, make sure to guard against ones that are already expected. Here are some examples:
• 100 percent to sales plan is expected;• 100 percent to profit plan is expected;• Living within budget should be a given;
• Good quality is expected; and
• Good customer service is expected.Try these examples instead;
• Meet face-to-face with general contractors after bidding projects; that will increase sales;
• Identify cost savings in my job; that will contribute to living within budget;
• Conduct customer satisfaction surveys; these will determine if the company is meeting the needs of their customers; and
• Conduct annual employee performance appraisals; that will improve internal communications, provide feedback and improve employee performance.
Company goals and employee action plans are important to the success of the company, the employees in their jobs and the overall accountability that’s essential to maximize profitability in all phases of the building construction economy.
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