Strategy and strategic planning isn’t a closed-door process. While most planning teams are comprised of senior-level management and stakeholders, a holistic plan is actually based on the feedback and insight of the entire organization.
The glaring problem? Your entire organization can’t be part of your planning team. That’d just be complete chaos. So, how do you make sure the voice of your organization is heard during the planning process? Surveys.
Surveys are a powerful tool for you to collect and analyze your employee feedback for successful planning. Here’s a five-step approach we’ve developed so you can efficiently and effectively gather feedback:
- Identify who might provide valuable feedback. With your planning team, identify both individuals and departments that could provide valuable insight or feedback on your organization and its culture. If in doubt, add them to the list.
- When crafting your survey, include a couple open-ended questions. Open-ended questions leave room for your employees to provide an unbridled and uninfluenced response to key strategic questions. One great tip is to ask them what your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll naturally bring your entire team’s different perspectives (Marketing, Sales, Admin, etc) to the table.
- Distribute it and make your planning team responsible for ushering the process. Make your planning team responsible for distributing the survey and ensuring their teams complete the survey. It’s more powerful when it comes from their direct report.
- Analyze it. Especially if you’ve used open-ended questions, you’ll need to perform some analysis to gather the important gold nuggets from your survey results. Record trends, commonly used phrases, and unique headlines that you can present during planning. Also make notes of what different department’s perspectives were.
- Use it! Throughout the planning process it’s easy to get struck in the trenches of the planning team’s direct opinions. Consistently remind your planning team about the voices of the people beyond the walls of the planning team. A holistic strategy must include their feedback.
Especially for larger organizations, a great strategic plan must include the voice of everyone in your organization. Only creating a strategy from the feedback and the opinions of senior management could leave your plan unrealistic, killing your plan before it’s even rolled out to your team.