Barriers to building morale will appear. The most significant ones for which you must “prepare against the [competition]” are described below.

Deficiency in Planning Skills

Planning within a team setting can be a unifying activity. Organizations such as 3M, global IT services provider HCL Technologies, Linux provider Red Hat, and defense contractor Rite-Solutions go beyond teams of limited size and open up the planning process to large numbers of individuals within their organizations.

Planning sessions involve individuals who were previously frozen out of the processes of setting strategic directions, prioritizing objectives, and developing strategies. Pulling in those diverse frontline perspectives made the plans more insightful, pragmatic, and actionable. Another favorable unifying aspect resulted in building enthusiasm by getting those individuals aligned with their particular company’s overall strategic direction.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to hone planning skills in others and initiate a collaborative approach. There are numerous formats for developing plans. Most have similar characteristics. Follow any of the popular formats, or use a standardized one that already exists in your firm. (Appendix 3 describes a Strategy Action Plan that you can customize for your company or business unit.)

Within the context of building morale and unity, merely acquiring planning skills is only part of the issue. The more relevant one, as illustrated with the above organizations, is the team’s ability to think strategically. That means honing skills that permit you and others to look forward at least three to five years.

Further, thinking strategically translates to the effective application of strategy, which is the central purpose of this book. Thus, strengthening planning skills is a means to open your mind to abundant possibilities and to foster the same type of thinking within your team.

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