QUESTION: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TOOL (ANALOG OR OTHERWISE) TO ASSIST YOU AND YOUR TEAM IN MAPPING OUT THE YEAR’S STRATEGIC PLANS AND GOALS? HOW DO YOU USE IT?
“All of our goals are written down on shared spreadsheets. Each project has its own action items, deliverable dates, people responsible and notes. On weekly calls, we see where each project stands. There’s no need for complicated project management software.”
ONE-PAGE BUSINESS PLANS
“We have several key areas in our business, and we assign a leader to each one. The leader must create a one-page business plan outlining what’s working, what’s not working and what’s missing. Every month, we make sure each key area is moving forward, and these documents serve as our strategic plans for the year.”
A LARGE WALL CALENDAR
“After writing out all the goals and ideas for the year, it comes down to putting each item on the calendar. A digital calendar tends to be too small and doesn’t give us an idea of what’s too full or too empty. That’s why I love using a full wall calendar to handle that – it keeps us all on track.”
“My favorite tool for generating strategic plans and goals is the website Mind Tools (http://www.mindtools.com/). It offers tips and advice on topics such as executing strategy, competitive advantage and team management. It has an extensive set of resources, and my senior staff and I have investigated this site extensively in order to stay sharp and be able to effectively map out our goals and strategies.”
“BRAIN DUMP” MEETINGS
“Our team has a big meeting every semester where we throw out — and then write — absolutely everything we want the company to do on a whiteboard. We call this our “brain dump” and it allows, before coming up with actual tactics, to get every idea/plan out of people’s heads and on to paper.”
“Every office needs a place to share ideas as they come up, rather than trying to formalize concepts before they’re ready. Scribbling on a whiteboard and making changes as necessary lets you crystallize thoughts as new information comes up, integrating them into a more formal plan when they’re ready.”
“You can easily share Google docs with the entire team, especially if you’re a Google Apps user. The Word-like format is familiar to everyone, so it doesn’t have much of a learning curve. The best part is that all comments are linked to the commenters’ email addresses, so you get emails when issues are responded to or resolved.”re Google Docs with the entire team, especially if you’re a Google Apps user.
“We use PowerPoint and Excel to map out our goals. From there, we present to those involved or share it with the entire company. This is our way of organizing and planning, and it has been very effective.”
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