Four million people quit their jobs in July 2021.
If The Great Resignation isn’t a priority for your organization, we plead with you to stay completely and totally focused on retaining your organization’s talent. Because without your people, you can’t operate your business.
We don’t intend to be the fly in your soup or the clouds in your sky, but this is a huge strategic priority for a lot of our clients right now. We won’t regurgitate what Harvard Business Review already covered, but we will say that good strategy and leadership are insanely important to retaining your talent.
So. It’s now October, which means developing or refreshing your 2022 strategy should be a priority. And it’s one of the levers you should pull to help retain your people.
Good Strategy Helps Retain Your Top Talent
We’re not talking the standard, boring approach to strategic planning. We’re actually talking about having a lightweight, agile plan that gives your organization direction with an agile implementation approach to keep your team focused and engaged – and emphasizing the agile implementation piece.
Good strategy lends itself to good leadership, organization-wide engagement, and focus–the earmark of high-functioning teams. And truth-be-told, everyone could use a little more of that right now.
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So, to help kick off this planning season, we’ve pulled together this tip sheet with 12 pro tips to reference as you develop your 2022 plan. We don’t recommend you use all 12; pick three that you think fit best with your organization’s need and culture.
2022 will not completely fix any retention problem. What we are saying is that you should be doing planning now, and some of these planning tips might be helpful to aid in retention!
Focus Area #1 – Build a Clear, Meaningful Plan
The foundation of any successful planning cycle is a great plan. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but here are a few valuable tips you can consider using as you start developing your 2022 plan:
Don’t call it strategic planning.
Listen, strategic planning as you’ve pictured it or always done it is dead, especially in the age of hybrid work and the fatigue many organizations face today. Ditch the label. Call it something different, such as growth planning or future planning. Give it a fresh life with a new name but stay true to the core components of what makes a strategic plan actually strategic.
Make your outcomes crystal clear.
If you make your outcomes crystal clear, your team can better understand where you’re going and how they support those outcomes. Keeping your talent connected to your desired outcomes helps create more engaged, focus teams.
Chart your own course.
We see organizations try to copy a competitor’s strategy or try to copy a strategy from an organization in a different industry. But, why don’t you lean on your talent and leadership team to chart your own course for success? Take your team’s input and build a unique approach to achieve your desired future state. Hint — your team is more likely to stick around if they get to implement something they built.
If you don’t have an envisioned future, don’t plan.
Listen, we’ll never advocate for not having a strategy in place. But we will always advocate for having a clear vision or future state to work towards. If you don’t have a clear vision, check out our video and canvas on how to create one. Having a clear vision is important to keep your team engaged and focused on achieving a future state. Working towards something big and impactful is more valuable than just working to work.
Separate the process from the plan.
The flow of a process doesn’t need to follow the outline of the strategic plan deliverables. You may choose to do things out of order, or start in one place and go to another. The process can be non-linear. A strategic planning document is linear, and you don’t need to create a plan in the perfect order.
Don’t debate semantics.
No one has the time or energy to endlessly debate the wording of your vision, goals, and objectives. Get it directionally there, and then let your leadership team or a copywriter pull it together.
Focus Area #2 – Connect Your People to the Plan
Plans don’t execute themselves; execution requires your people knowing what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and how it helps accomplish your long-term vision of success. Here are few valuable tips that make connecting your people to your plan just a bit easier:
OKRs do work with the right culture.
Spend time building the future.
We see organizations struggle all the time during strategy reviews and planning by focusing too much on the past. We follow the rule of 80/20. 20% of your time is spent reviewing performance and learnings, 80% of your time is spent creating the future. People get really excited when they get to help build the future, and your organization benefits from always moving forward.
Data matters. But it doesn’t need to be perfect.
Data is important in any business. But don’t overstress about having every point, decimal, or line absolutely perfect. Get it directionally correct and use it! Overwhelming your team with administrative data collection and analysis may not add value to your business. Plus, it’s just too stressful to try to make it perfect.
Focus Area #3 – Keep Everyone Engaged & Focused
Staying focused on what matters most requires a consistent, dedicated process and a culture that supports agile strategy. Easier said than done, but here are a few really helpful tips to consider as you build your plan for the new year:
Keep work fresh with quarterly refreshes.
We’re huge advocates of using quarterly refreshes to keep your plan fresh and your team engaged. Having quarterly refreshes allows you to see performance, create new focus for the coming quarter, and gives your team a voice in what they’ll accomplish to support your vision and quarterly direction.
Need a guide to help establish a quarterly rhythm? Check out the StrategySprintTM Guide here.
Build a plan that matches your implementation.
As you set up your plan, make sure it’s structure and reporting match how you’ll implement it. If you review weekly, make sure that your plan is set up to report weekly. If you refresh quarterly, make sure you have key results or goals that are quarterly. You’ll lose engagement and create frustration if your plan doesn’t match how you want to keep it in focus.
One-page plans are magic.
We love one-page strategic plans. They communicate your vision and direction and what you need to accomplish in a single view. It’s a tool we use all the time to keep our client teams engaged in what matters most in achieving the organization’s vision of success.
Want a One-Page Plan template? You can download a template here.