5 Steps To Powerful Team Planning
How we plan, lay out the process to make things happen, is different for everyone. Trish Everett shares five ways to improve your team planning.
How we plan, lay out the process to make things happen, is different for everyone. For some, jotting down a few ideas on the back of a napkin with your morning coffee spurs you into motivation and action. For others, a nicely organised to-do list or spreadsheet calms and soothes you as you know that you won’t forget anything along the way. For others, you get creative with your Tombow makers and washi tape in your bujo and buzz with happiness, and the list goes on of all the ways that creating a plan works.
The thing is, there is no ‘right’ way to plan. There are only ways that work for you. We all think differently, have different learning styles and have different biology and epigenetics. Plus, we all have varying needs when it comes to planning, which is pretty exciting. Everyone is walking the quest to match our planning style to our way of thinking and being.
So here comes the spanner. When you are planning as a team, how do you find a way to plan together?
We are all well versed in the need for ownership of ideas and vision to keep your teams’ motivation up. So planning together, including your whole team in planning, is a great way to make sure that everyone feels ownership, feels belonging, feels motivated…yes?
Well, not always. Years ago, when the new curriculum came out in WA, I was working as a school principal of a remote school. I set up planning meetings together so my team could plan together to bring the new curriculum into our lesson plan. I should mention here that I love planning. I love looking at the big picture, breaking it down into details, and expanding it out again. It turns out that not everyone is up for that. By the end of our first planning session, my team was less motivated and totally frustrated with me, and our team’s rapport took a hit. Where did I go wrong? Thinking that everyone planned the same way as me.
So if that is what not to do, what is the way to do this successfully? Here is a 5-step starting point. Test it, try it out and see what works for your team.
1 – Recon
How does each person on your team plan? There are so many ways to do this. A survey, going round and seeing each person’s, even having it as an info sharing meeting where everyone has a turn to talk about what works for them.
And get a feel for your team’s styles and strengths. Who loves planning, and who hates it? Who is good with details, and who are your broad stroke people? Who are your action takers, and who are great at accountability? Who needs a plan’s structure, and who works best with more space and freedom?
2 – Vision
This is the dream part of the process. Including your whole time to build a shared vision is an impactful way to get everyone on board. And of course, they are many ways to build this shared vision. A values-based approach, a big dream brainstorm, a group visioning exercise or a collective vision board. There are many ways to ensure everyone’s ideas of the future, purpose and direction are heard.
The trick here is to keep this in the land of inspiration, not pushing it into the land of expanding to-do lists and broken dreams.
The thing is, there is no ‘right’ way to plan. There are only ways that work for you.
3 – Direction
A group process of discerning is the tipping point. If you can collectively choose priorities, set boundaries around time, choose focuses and gauge interest levels and buy-in for each aspect. When you do this, it is important to keep coming back to the available time. If teams miss this stage, it can lead to overplanning, unrealistic goals, and setting themselves up for team burnout.
4 – Assign
This is where all those insights you got from the recon part can come into play. You can share out the planning process based on interest. Those who think in processes can map it out, those who operate from action can get balls rolling, those that are good with connection and communication can make sure everyone is on board and so on.
5 – Share
Some plans are simple, and everyone just needs to know what is happening, while others are more complex and need more consultation. Being clear on who needs to contribute, who needs to be included and who just needs to be informed is helpful. It is also really helpful to look at when and how you will share progress, challenges and feedback as you move through the plan. How are you best going to keep the plan alive and on track?
This is a working list. Play with what works for you and your team, what order, what approaches, and what ways bring this together for your team. Getting this part of your teamwork to be more aligned with both your mission and direction, along with your team’s strengths and motivations, can make a big difference. A difference is not only in your team’s output but in how your team builds their sense of belonging. And that, that is the foundation of a strong team.
Would you like to get better at team planning? Book in for a free 30-minute chat and we can see what is happening and what else you can do to bring your own team into the planning process. Book a time here to find a time to talk about your team.
Trish Everett is a leadership coach and communication geek with a passion for creating workplaces that people love to work at. She is passionate about conversations that bring positive change.