I believe that two of the the most important factors in running a successful company are: robust communications and a sharp focus on the key organizational strategies. Unfortunately, it is been my experience that most leaders do a relatively poor job of communicating what they want their people to focus on. Given the incredibly challenging economic times we are in, now more than ever it is critical to clearly communicate to all of your people what is expected of them and what they need to do to keep your company strong and successful. However, you don’t want to bog them down with long speeches or a 50 page strategic plan. The goal is to keep it as concise and focused as possible.
A few months ago I had the great pleasure of listening to one of the top leaders at Procter & Gamble talk about how he communicated to his team what was most important to him through a “one-page strategic plan” and a “one-page leadership philosophy.” This particular gentleman was often brought in as a change agent, a situation that can create great stress for the new teams he was going to lead, so he created these simple documents to allow him to clearly communicate what was on his mind, what he wanted people to focus on, and what they could expect from him as their new leader. What a wonderful way to help people stop worrying about what is in the leader’s head, and instead focus on the work at hand!
Because I think this is such a good idea, I’m even doing it with my team to get 2009 started off on the right foot. Below I have pasted in the actual documents I handed out to my team. Please give some thought to doing something similar in your organization. I’m confident it will be helpful and will set a great tone for getting everyone focused, energized and ready to get down to business.
One Page Leadership Philosophy: John Spence
1. Complete honesty, transparency and candor, delivered with respect and in an environment where people feel safe to tell the truth.
2. High standards of professionalism, quality, accountability and urgency – refuse to tolerate anything less.
3. Teamwork and collaboration are mandatory – no prima-donnas. Deliver and demand mutual accountability, keep your promises, be 100% reliable – have the courage to hold others accountable to their commitments.
4. Passion for your craft, lifelong learning, continuous improvement, creativity and innovation.
5. Extreme Customer Focus – positive attitude, genuine concern for the client, always do what is best for the client… even above the firm, treat every client like you would your best friend, remember that the client pays your salary… the client gives you your job!
Major Areas of Focus:
A. Growth of the business / profitability
B. Client satisfaction
D. Disciplined Execution+ Urgency
E. Teamwork + meaningful work in a positive, fun environment
What I want from you:
Honesty, lots of communication around the most important information, hard work, quality work, extreme customer focus, always pushing yourself to learn and grow, ask question if you don’t know something, offer thoughtful and well-reasoned ideas, take prudent business risks, help your team mates as much as you possibly can, share the credit, keep your promises, dream really big, have fun, maintain a healthy work-life balance, take personal accountability for making this a great place to work and a highly successful company.
What I do not want:
Politicking, rumor-mongering, cliques, power-struggles, turf-building, hoarding information, pointing fingers, laying blame, making excuses, not delivering the results you committed to, a negative attitude, CYA activities, wasting time with frivolous emails and memos, lack of urgency to get the most important things done… right now!
What you can expect from me:
Honesty, fairness, an open door, a willingness to listen, my focused attention, an insatiable desire to learn and improve daily, generosity, 100% accountability for my actions, always sharing the credit, a strong focus on delivering results and holding everyone on the team accountable, a positive attitude, very hard work, dedication to the team, extreme customer focus.
One Page Business Plan: John Spence LLC.
Mission: To provide sound business advice, focused executive coaching and superior employee development services to select clients worldwide.
Vision: To be recognized as one of the top business coaching/consulting firms in the United States.
Core Values: 100% honesty, highest levels of professionalism, extreme client focus, lifelong learning, true attitude of service and generosity, life balance, fun, fun, fun.
Major Strategic Objectives:
1. Maximize impact of new book through publicity, blogs, v-blogs, Word of Mouth, TV, Radio, articles, speeches, book signings, etc…
2. Establish a viable e-commerce division – selling training DVD’s, books, workbooks, etc…
3. Strengthen / deepen ties with current clients.
4. Add three new Fortune 500 clients.
5. Sell a second book to Jossey-Bass.
Key Measure of Success:
A. “Awesomely Simple” makes NYT Business Best Seller.
B. Minimum for 45 Speeches/workshops this year.
C. Achieve minimum sales goals for products from our websites.
D. Signed contract for leadership book.
E. John signs on as a speaker for open seminar series such as World Business Forum, Aspen Ideas Fest, TED or Linkage.
I believe that if you did something like these two documents and gave them to every single person on your team, it can’t do anything but help. Let me know what you think, love to get your feedback, and would welcome anyone sending me a copy of your one-page leadership philosophy and one-page strategic plan so I can see how some of you put these together.
Hope this helped — take good care — John