Strategic Planning and Open Book Management

In our last Blog, we discussed the importance of Positioning Statements. These are vital as they describe your ideal client, how your solution solves their pain points, and what benefits will accrue to the client by using your solution.

Involving Staff in the Strategic Planning Process

Strategic Planning is traditionally a job for senior management. Once the process is completed, the strategy is somehow disseminated to lower management who then disseminate this to front-line staff. Some of the information in a strategic plan can be commercially sensitive so sharing this information needs to be carefully considered. As a result, the message from senior management to front-line staff may be diluted and distorted as the messages go through different management layers.

However, We believe parts of the strategic planning process need to involve the entire team. At EDIStech, we have involved the entire team in the SWOT analysis process. In particular, identifying Strengths and Weaknesses.

We divided the company into 4 quadrants;

  • Staff
  • Operations and Infrastructure
  • Management
  • Finance

The reason for doing this was so our discussions were tightly focussed on one area of the business at a time.

Task Force to Combat Weaknesses

Over a period of 6-8 weeks, we took each of these quadrants and discussed the strengths and weaknesses relating to their field of expertise. From this, we formulated a plan to combat the weaknesses we discovered and utilise our strengths even more.

Once the weaknesses were identified, we selected one individual (either a staff member or manager) to head up a task force to implement solutions to eradicate the weakness. The leader of this team had to provide reports within our staff meetings on their plan’s progress.


Even Management is Under Scrutiny

We thought it was important to add ‘Management’ in the mix as a Quadrant. It takes a manager that is confident in their skin to open themselves up to critique from staff and we felt this was critically important for several reasons;

  1. Staff needed to have absolute confidence in management’s ability to lead the company from where we were to where we wanted to be.
  2. Receiving a different perspective on the performance of our management team was equally important. 360-degree feedback on yourself is a very useful exercise to see where you need to improve and upskill if necessary.
  3. It shows the organisation that the management team is absolutely committed to the ‘cause’ and open to constructive criticism, so that we can improve.


Can You Trust Your Staff With Open Book Management?

The other parts of the strategic plan put together by the senior management team were also shared with the entire team to ensure all staff knew our long-term thinking. We believe you have to trust your staff and allow them to share your vision of where the company is going.

Every quarter, we present the company’s financial performance and our performance against our company-wide KPI’s. We also give a quarterly report on the progress and performance of our strategic plan.

Our philosophy is that of Open Book Management. We trust our staff to perform work for our clients and represent our company. So why can’t we open our books to them, and show that we are or aren’t achieving our financial and strategic goals?


Company Wide Bonus Schemes

Some business owners shun away from sharing the financial position of the company as they think staff will ask for huge pay increases if the company is performing well. That is why we put in place bonus schemes for management and staff. The company must make its financial goals. Any profit made above an agreed amount would be placed in a pool for distribution to staff. Thus they all had a keen interest in knowing the financials. This acted as an incentive for staff to eradicate our weaknesses in systems and operational procedures so we had the best chance of exceeding our financial targets!