You are probably consumed with all of the hoopla going on for the holiday season now, but, as managers, we mustn’t forget that the new year is right around the corner. Surely you want next year to be better than this year, no matter how good this year was, and you likely have improvements you would like to see come to fruition. In order to make that happen, you need to start strategizing soon.

So let’s talk about how we all can create effective team strategies for 2017.

As a Manager think about:

  • How can you meet your goals?
  • When should you meet with your team?
  • And will it really make a difference?

Clarifying Your Goals

The first thing you need to do is understand what you want your team to achieve in the new year:

  • Are there specific metrics that need improving?
  • Would you like to increase overall revenues by a certain percentage?
  • Would you like to increase productivity and cut costs?

Look at the current year’s performance and identify what you would like to see change in the upcoming year.

How Can You Make it Happen?

Once you know what you would like to achieve, it is time to work out the details of how you will achieve it.

For example, say you manage a district of cell phone stores and want to increase revenues by getting each store to sell more Internet features with the phones.  You will need to devise a plan outlining how to make it possible.

Maybe you could provide training for all Sales Associates on how to sell the feature.  Perhaps you could implement incentives for the Sales Associates who sell the most. Another option would be reorganizing the pay structure to reward sales of that feature. The main thing is to come up with realistic strategies that will help you meet your goals. Once you have a few ideas, take notes of how your team will support those efforts.

As leaders we want to gain the input and ideas of those we lead, but we also need to have a clear vision of what is best for the business and ideas of our own about how best to achieve it.

So, once you have your plan in place, it is time to bring in your team.

Planning a Meeting

Now, as I said earlier, the holidays are a very busy time. Not only that, they are usually the time when a large percentage of revenue comes in.

That being said, you don’t want to take away the thunder. Plan your meeting after the holiday season has passed. The start of the year is a good time, as everything has calmed down.

So, early in January, bring your team together and let them know you would like to discuss the goals for the upcoming year.

The Meeting Agenda

At this point you have a clear idea of what happened in 2016 and where you want to go, but your team may have no idea. In order to bring everyone up to speed, it’s best to review 2016 first. Show the results that you reviewed and allow them to see where the areas of success were, as well as the areas for improvement.

It can be very helpful and motivating to reward the team members who were leaders in various important aspects of the business.

Once everyone is on the same page, you can then focus on the areas that need improvement, or that you want to improve on. Ask for input as to why your team thinks the business struggled in these areas, and how they think improvements can be made. It will be helpful to get a conversation going where ideas are brainstormed for how to solve the problems.

By involving your team in the conversation, versus telling them your plan, they will be more invested in the solution. If they contribute ideas which are taken into consideration, they will be more likely to follow through with the plan for the upcoming year.

Thank everyone for their contributions and let them know you will be following up with each of them to share the final action plan.

Making the Final Plan

Now as the Manager, it is time to go back to the drawing board with all of the input you have received and make the final plan. Be sure to take all input into careful consideration as there are aspects of the business we can learn about from our team members in other positions.

As I mentioned, your team will appreciate having their ideas heard and acted upon.

Most importantly, you will want to make a plan that you see as being the most likely to bring the results you want. When you have it ready, you can roll it out to the rest of the team. This can be done in an email, another meeting, or one-on-one conversations.

When sharing the plan for 2017, you will want to be aware of the role each team member will play, and what you need from them. Be sure to make it clear what they need to bring to the table and how it will be measured. Then ask for a commitment from each team member to work toward the improvement in the coming year.

Tracking and Measuring

Once the team is committed and bought into the 2017 strategy, the key to success is going to be tracking progress, providing updates, and holding people accountable to their commitments. You should plan how you will be tracking progress, how often you will be checking progress, and how often you will be communicating with your team.

Some managers may check the metrics daily and send out weekly updates, while others may check weekly and send out monthly updates. Whatever you decide, just make sure you are consistent thereby ensuring you stay on track to achieve your goals.

Here’s to a Successful 2017

We all want our businesses to continue to grow and to get there we must strategize and work with our teams. Every Manager knows that you can’t do it alone. However, you can lead, motivate, and inspire your team to work together for a common goal. By following this strategy, and applying it to whatever type of business you run, you can gain the buy-in of your team to your vision and charge ahead to make 2017 a year of success.

Here’s to a great New Year!