Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Little time for strategic thinking? Ask staff for ideas to help you get started.

I often see managers so overwhelmed with the day-to-day demands of their jobs that they’re struggling to pay attention to future initiatives that call for strategic thinking. It’s tough because although these initiatives may not be urgent they can be crucial to the business and when managers are swamped future needs can go unattended for some time.

This is a quick reminder that you don’t always have to do it all—You can call on your employees to help you jump-start first steps towards a project or future initiative. Here’s how:

– Ask a few choice employees for their top two or three recommendations for how you might take the first steps towards action on a future project, or training initiative, or marketing plan, or strategic plan.

– When you ask for their input just position it as your interest in getting their perspectives and ideas. Let them know that you’re not sure what direction you’ll take just yet, but you’re confident their ideas will provide solid ideas to build upon.

– Ask to receive the (documented) ideas by a specific date and then mark that date in your calendar in the event you need to send out a reminder. This will place more accountability around their submissions and your efforts to support its importance.

The benefits of this simple approach are two-fold. People will appreciate that you value their input and you’ll finally be taking first-steps toward that dormant project or idea.


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