Let’s face it, our companies experience ongoing challenge and change. We might have different business paths, maybe even goals (apart from profitability). Also, we would all like to remove frustration, reignite stalled projects, and get faster results along the way.
In fact, businesses with a clearly-outlined and useful plan are consistently, at least 12% more profitable than companies who don’t have or don’t use a plan. Even with a written plan, that extra 12% profit has more opportunity to be realized when:
- The company implements and regularly refers to the business plan.
- Everyone within the organization understands and moves in the same direction.
If things are so simple and clear, why do businesses so often not have any plan? Why are things so out of sync? It’s because when we take a closer look, there are two items often overlooked or left out:
- How our personal values fit into the organization’s values.
- Prioritizing information to support the stated goals using the strategic plan AND company values.
To set-up a plan and formulate strategy we need three closely connected elements:
Shared Meaning – Trajectory – Decision-Making
Weaving these three elements together allows us to create a framework for building culture with every action we take. The culture we have within our organization comes from the way we share information, the way we set expectations, and even the way we allow growth opportunities for our employees.
Observing and using the culture, we can direct and develop shared meaning. Shared meaning is a term that I employ to describe when everyone understands the meaning of the words used to conduct business. This is more than understanding the definition. Shared meaning is the meaning – the context – in which we work together.
Trajectory is about where we think we are going, and then where we are actually going. Trajectory incorporates specific business reviews using pointed data to measure a project and its results, and then predicts what to expect. In other words, using past information to assess the course of the decisions we’ve made to date.
Business is filled with decisions we face on a daily basis. The four steps of decision-making are:
- Recognize there is a decision to be made.
- Collect data.
- Gather solutions.
- Implement and evaluate.
The threads of shared meaning, trajectory, and decision making make their biggest impact when we are gathering solutions. The lens of company values, our shared meaning and how we do our work, immediately eliminate infinite possibilities. Add the lens of trajectory – what moves us toward our three- and five-year goals as well as current progress – to eliminate even more options. What’s left are options based on the value we want to create and deliver.
Less options means more time to think through and vet the ideas. Time spent thinking instead of charging ahead and pivoting along the way. We shape the way we do our work and the way we work with each other by using this value-based decision-making process.
Values-based decision-making allows us to use our business plans for what they are: living documents that shift and change and provide the course on which we see ourselves, which promotes and enhances shared meaning organization-wide.
Don’t be afraid to bring your viewpoint!
Your way of thinking, your perspective … this is everything. To make informative and optimal decisions we need data, and the willingness to be open – to hear and speak up and receive in conversation – to influence the outcome of a conversation. Whether conversations are easy or tough, when we think about the purpose of an interaction we are able to recognize our reactions … and decide whether they make sense in the situation.
This transparency is a direct outcome when we utilize value-based decision-making across our organization. We remove the frustration and stagnation associated with projects because there are a manageable number of solutions to work with. And we, the organizational leaders, can use value-based decision-making to prioritize tasks. Use these lenses when communicating and taking action to strengthen your organization’s culture. Within a value-based way of conducting business, we can shift away from frustration and toward a reignited team that is excited both about their roles and what they do, and about what comes next.