Strategic Planning – Motivation 3.0

December 23, 2010

strategic planning

In Drive, Dan Pink asks us to look past the outmoded view of what motivates people, like the carrot and stick, to more cutting edge research about personal growth and development. Recently, when working with clients to bring the strategic planning process out of the board room and into the mail room, we brought to life Motivation 2.0.

Dan provides us some great insights in his book about what Google has been doing giving employees 20% discretionary time and Best Buy’s ROWE model (Results Only Work Environment) that Jody and Cali developed and launched their own consulting business Culture Rx (they spoke recently at CO2 Partners Eat the Book Event). Often times in working with smaller less well known brands they want to adapt to these types of ideas and find it difficult to integrate this great thinking without the margin of these enterprises. Each business model calls for different cultures and different reasons for these behaviors.

Every company can implement strategic planning by involving all or many employees at every level. And not surprising what you will hear when you do this, “This is so great that your asking me for my opinion.” When speaking with employees who have never been asked for their opinion before at work (33% of bosses rarely or never ask for their subordinate advice based on a national survey we conducted) they say they will never work for another company in which they did not get to participate in the strategic planning process. That is a grand statement – now they likely were caught up in the moment of participation and yet it talks to the level of motivation an employee feels when participating. In the many years running our business when ever we brought the planning process across all levels those were the years that we found the greatest success. Recently I was working with a small restaurant chain of 6 locations and they decided to involve all the managers into the planning process in the planning room and all employees to participate in company wide data collection effort that would shape the future plans of the direction of the organization. The level of positive feed back that was offered was unprecedented and the lift based on Motivation 3.0 was personally motivating not only to the employees but to the leadership team as well. It becomes an upwardly reinforcing system.

There are two tools that we use at CO2 Partners to allow this level of interactivity to both gather, sort, and decide what direction the company should go. Turning Technologies is a great partner of CO2 Partners and we use their audience response system frequently with small and large groups. It provides a way to give anonymity to the employees and great insight to the leadership team. Another tool that allows you to collect data, sort and decide that has become indispensable to our planning process is Group Mind Express. Group Mind Express allows you to collaborate and build group intelligence.

You will find it is not all good news for the planning process. The wider the expanse of participants the greater the amount of data that will needed to be sorted and decided upon. This often means that the process will take longer and at times become frustrating to the leaders who may have been through planning before. When you invite people to participate the language of planning is new so you will need to orient the employees to this language before they begin to participate.

Last month in working with a senior team with one new member that was recently promoted to the team we found it slowed down the process considerably because this management team had gone through 5 years of planning together and were of one mind. The questions that the newly knighted leader asked felt like, “so yesterday.” What we discovered though was that his questions raised many assumptions that were baked into the business without the senior team knowing. Additionally, what became apparent was that he saw the outcome of the strategies that had been working successfully but did not understand that those strategies came based on the decisions that were decided in past years planning. He kept saying, ‘why do we need to put this in our plan we already know to do this?’ What he did not get was that the team keeps certain strategies from year to year so that the organization will keep doing those behaviors. After each meeting he said, how great he felt to be part of the team and involved in the decision making.

Motivation 3.0 in real-time play – no carrot no stick.

In doing this work for years once you involve the larger company there is no going back because how people feel about being involved, being asked. They become much more connected to the organizations operating values, vision and mission – they finally understand why they are doing what they are doing. All the things that get lost when trying to sell the ideas to the company when they had no say in the decisions that were made. Ask yourself if you would work for a company that did not care about your opinion?.

My experience tells me that you may take longer to complete the process but will take far less time in activating your employees into action based on what Dan Pink calls Motivation 3.0.

How far do you reach with your strategic planning? How many do you involve? How motivated is your team and organization when you are through?

Related Posts:

What Goes Into Your Strategic Plan

Strategic Planning Motivation 3.0

Creating a Vision Statement

Business Model Generation

Strategic Planning Words Are Important

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