As we move toward a New Year, you will probably begin thinking about what you need to accomplish next year. But this list should be more than a set of objectives or goals – your plans for the upcoming year should take the form of a vision and strategy that can help your organization meet its goals. In order to do this, there are a few steps you should take during your planning process. The first step is to look at the organization as a whole and determine what the strategy will be for 2018.
We continue to acknowledge that organizations are still slow to spend money or expand out of fear of the dreaded recession. Because of this, it is even more important that you start your strategy plans with the overall strategy of your organization. This may seem like a great undertaking, but if you approach it systematically it is manageable. First, determine who the strategic layers are or are going to be for the upcoming year.For example, one firm may have discovered a technical problem with a major product, so key players are going to be IT, development, marketing, and potentially the sales force. On the other hand, if your organization is one of the brave ones that is moving forward with market or product development for 2018, the key players will most likely be marketing and sales. Once you know who the key players are, you can take the time to speak with managers or directors in those areas to find out what’s going on.
The next step to take is to break the organizational strategy down into manageable areas, such as innovations, initiatives, technology, growth, and finance. For example, initiatives may cover product and market development or may even cover the correction of technical problems. On the other hand, innovations could be big changes in the way the firm does business, major product changes, or internal changes such as a move to a new HRM or ERP system. Technology will most probably touch most of the areas for organizational strategy, but technology can stand on its own, as well. Keep in mind that changes to processes, such as sales, may also have a technological aspect. Growth and finance may also appear hand-in-hand. For example, the organization may be planning to take on additional market share, expand into new markets, or pursue a joint venture with another firm. Any of these moves will require the assistance of your training department.
In more general terms, consider how all of these aspects will work together to create the calendar and project plans for the organization over the next year. Plug in the key people from each area and you have a list of interviews to conduct. When we discuss meetings, remember that the idea is not to get the nuts and bolts for every initiative at this stage. What you will want to find out is the overall impact of the project, how the project or change will affect the overall goals of the organization, and of course you will want to
have an idea of the timeline for each piece.
When you have all of this information compiled, you are one step closer to determining what your strategy can be. But remember that whatever plans you have for the training department, which we will discuss shortly, should mesh and match with the overall plan for the organization. This is especially true in the current economic environment, where the training budget can still be an issue of contention in the financial plan. Every action you take in 2018 should be for the express purpose of supporting the organization and its overall goals for the year – and you should be able to show unquestionably how your department will be able to do this.
Next, let’s examine the overall industry to determine the trends and initiatives that will affect your organization and your training department.
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