“Plan-do-review – on the surface, it’s just common sense.
A blissfully simple approach to driving improvement in businesses and organisations of all kinds, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
You come up with a strategy. You follow that strategy. And then you look back and assess how you’ve done.
But the issue is that achieving business-wide excellence is a lot more complicated than that.
In this article, I’m going to talk you through some of the pitfalls of plan-do-review – and what you need to do instead to ensure your plan for improvement is a resounding success.
I’ve seen business leaders put huge amounts of time, passion and energy into drawing up complex plans for how their organisations can improve – but then give next to no thought to how they’re going to convey it to their employees.
Top-down doesn’t work, because, ultimately, it’s not a company’s directors who make improvement happen – it’s the people on the ground.
Business leaders can set the direction of travel, but they need passionate, dedicated, motivated people to make their vision a reality.
It’s vitally important that you get your teams excited about the strategy you’re trying to implement. They need to know why you’re doing it, why it’ll be good for the business, and, in the long-run, why it’ll be good for them.
Ultimately, they need to be able to feel like they can take ownership of it, and that they’re a vital part of making it happen.
In short, winning hearts and minds, and engaging the whole of the workforce, is a massively important step that plan-do-review forgets.
Another common pitfall I come across is businesses who’ve committed themselves to a strategy that they simply don’t have the ability to deliver.
Again, that can stem from a disconnect between the executives and the rank-and-file workers on the ground.
But regardless of the cause, assessing what you’re currently capable of achieving is extremely important if you don’t want to set yourself up to fail.
Let me be clear – this isn’t me arguing that your plans need to be small-scale and uninspiring. Another common issue I regularly see is companies not setting their sights high enough.
When you’re trying to make your organisation as outstanding as it can possibly be, you need to be ambitious.
However, you need to start the process with a sober analysis of where you are at the moment, where you want to go, and, crucially, what steps you need to take in the interim to make that goal achievable.
That might be financial investment. It might be recruitment. It might be a thorough-going revision of your internal processes. But whatever it is, it’s paramount that you allocate the resources necessary to make your strategy a success.
In life, and in business, nothing ever goes entirely to plan. Inevitably, those bumps in the road are frustrating and disappointing when they occur. But they should never be a reason to seek out someone to blame.
There will be mishaps. But you need to use them as learning opportunities. What do they tell you about your processes? Is there an obvious step you’re missing when it comes to quality control? Or is there a gap in the training you’re giving your staff?
Address these issues, and you can minimise mistakes, and maximise efficiency.”
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