Strategic Planning as a Key Component of the People Side of Business

Strategic planning is essential not just because it reflects the business plan of an organization, but because it is also a key component of the people side of business.  A strategic plan lays out the mission and pathways to achieve the organization’s goals.  Taking care of people in the organization requires that they are all aware of the direction of the company and intended outcomes of their work.

At HerschDeMaio our focus is on the people side of business; in particular what managers and leaders can do to take care of their employees and create a high performance organization.  Our principles thus far have been about the support and structure people need.  For the support and structure to succeed people need direction; they need to know where they are headed.  Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?

All too often managers are guilty of giving people a job, and not a mission.  A job is something people work at and want to accomplish.  But a mission is a job attached to a greater purpose.  It has meaning that goes far beyond the day to day slogging.  It provides an opportunity for employee creative problem-solving and self determination in reaching the company goals.

When workers both know and buy in to the mission of the organization – and they have an opportunity to determine at least some of how to accomplish that mission – they can feel like adults who have greater autonomy and self worth.  Management in effect poses a challenge to them to help figure out how to succeed.  This not only makes people feel good, it brings out the best performance they have to offer.

Allowing some autonomy requires ongoing communication (between manager and employee) about how each person’s effort is working toward goal accomplishment.  It sets up a kind of accountability and structure that is not about correction or consequence, but is about shared ideas for accomplishing goals.  It is adult to adult, positive, and not personal. It sets up a relationship where management can implement a balance of active support and structure.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

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