Year-end hoves into view – time to create an 80 Day Plan
I don’t wish to create any undue panic but year-end is approaching and approaching fast. You have c80 working days left to deliver whatever you promised back in January before you and your colleagues will be winding down and getting tied up in festivities. So the time to act is now!
I am a fan of short term 80 – 90 day plans. This is a chunk of time that is long enough to enable real sustainable change to be made. It’s long enough to gather folk together and discuss what needs to happen before the break, re-energise, re-focus and if required re-boot any improvement activity and re-connect with key actions that simply have to be delivered before the New Year comes knocking on our collective doors. There is nothing like a collective deadline for causing that spike of energy and this is the time of year to tap into the competitive and collaborative spirit that can be unleashed when orchestrated by a confident and clear leader.
In this thinking it is important to remember that your job as a leader is not simply to improve and deliver. Your job is to improve the right things and deliver results that really matter and that is a whole different ball game. Reflect back into your purpose and strategic intent and make sure you are not squandering scarce improvement resource on things that really don’t matter. There is never a better time in the year to create a ‘To Stop’ list. Get into project execution mode and kill off any projects that are limping along, not delivering and which have fallen into a ritualistic behaviour pattern of endless meetings and reports with no effective impact. Bayonetting wounded projects is a blessed relief for all concerned and now is the time to ‘fix bayonets!’
Your 80-day plan should be absent of clutter. The lessons of the last 8 months are worth reflecting on. What is your organisation telling you about its capability to deliver and to change? How can you factor those lessons into your plans and what should you do more of; do less of; stop and start in order to ensure you head towards year end with a real tailwind behind you.
The plan will work best if it is co-created with your colleagues. A short facilitated discussion will pay huge dividends and once the plan is set then communicate, communicate, communicate. This is the only way to ensure pet projects are stopped and improvement energy is re-aligned to what is really important in the coming weeks. Leave it too long and it will be too late.
Malcolm Follos is a strategic management consultant. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org