When a fleet of ships sets out across the ocean, the captain commands and manages its safe and efficient operations including all the ship’s personnel, cargo, and navigation. He has a route, carries it out, holds himself and the crew to the standards, and then is rewarded for a safe arrival and repeated business. Strategy for your business is no different. You must have a plan, implement it, be held accountable, and then celebrate those achieved goals.
Having a strategic plan is important. But more importantly, communicating and implementing the plan and staying on track is really instrumental in growing your business. Like a captain on a ship, he holds his crew accountable in order to stay the course and safely reach their destination. Having a scorecard allows the team to see where they are going and where they have been. Accountability allows the team to see what items still need to be implemented and who is responsible for completing those goals.
One strategy for a fleet of ships is to align and utilize one another’s wind drafts in order to move across the seas faster and more efficiently. The flagship is the leader, the navigator and usually the strongest ship in the fleet, so the rest of the fleet depends on the flagship. Think of each employee as a ship in your fleet with their own role and responsibilities. Are the ships traveling together toward the same final destination (goals)? Working together, the team can reach the final destination more efficiently but it takes the entire team working together through planning and preparation.
Knowing how they will impact the big picture and how they can be part it gives purpose to employees and an atlas to follow in their day-to-day roles. Most employees want to do the best they can at their job, but as a leader you must give them directions. These directions, however, are meant to be a guide, not an absolute. As with the fleet of ships, when a storm starts to brew, the captain must make adjustments to the route and try to avoid the heart of the storm. The same is true for a strategy. As a leader, you must see what’s coming and help your team avoid the major storm. Multiple forms of communication are imperative, not just in a time of crisis, but throughout the strategic process as employees must know the goals in order to reach them.
Once the team accomplishes the goals, you must celebrate as a team. The captain doesn’t navigate the ship solely but the entire crew made it a successful trip. Celebration is important because it recognizes the hard work the team has contributed to reach the goals. It gives employees pride in their work and motivates them to continue working hard. Recognition is one of the most effective ways to retain your current employees. As a good leader, you must celebrate the team’s achievements.
Planning, implementing, being held accountable, and celebrating are the four ways to effectively lead your team through the strategic plan and goals. Are you ready to navigate your ships in the same direction and take your company to the next level? Are you ready to take your company to new and unique levels? If not, you better think twice, because your competition probably is. It’s something you should execute.