Don’t Lose Momentum After Your Company Kickoff
I love a great company kickoff. Far too often in our industry, we get lost in the rinse and repeat mentality that comes with the audacious company goals and aggressive quarterly quotas we are always striving to reach. So when the annual kickoff comes around, I’ve always found it’s a great time to reflect on accomplishments over the past year, and set the stage for the bigger vision we are all driving towards as a company.
Call me overly optimistic, but I think a company kickoff done well can create the initial momentum that sets any team up for a successful year.
However, one of the challenges for any leadership team after a company kickoff is figuring out how to build on the momentum from a great event. For many employees, it’s easy to get drawn back into the day-to-day grind of our roles and the taxing nature of our industry.
Even in past years where kickoffs were done in person, keeping that momentum can be a challenge. But add in a year where kickoffs are done remotely, and we’ve all had to think of creative ways to engage employees and create excitement for the year to come.
From working alongside our customers and prospects, we’ve identified three ways to ensure your team keeps the momentum from your great company kickoff throughout 2021.
Alignment Doesn’t Come from a Spreadsheet
Alignment is one of the most discussed areas of any business right now, and rightfully so. It’s absolutely imperative that a company have alignment, especially in this remote-first environment.
If alignment is a key component to your company’s success, it’s time to upgrade from the excel spreadsheet that you’ve been using. Not having a clear picture of your goals to roll out to your team can cause confusion and lack of interest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen spreadsheets created with good intentions only to be forgotten and unused.
And look, I get it, companies have to start somewhere, and spreadsheets can be an easy, clean way to begin tracking your goals.
However, once you hit a certain size, let’s call it 30 employees, spreadsheets no longer serve the employees at the company. They serve the individuals that first built them, because they are familiar, easy to use, and a way to keep consistency.
As your team grows, you have to start thinking about how you scale your processes and infrastructure. You have to think about how you provide teams with visibility into cross-departmental dependencies. How you allow managers to communicate the goals of the company to their team, and how individuals contribute to your long-term vision.
For Strategy and Operations Leaders, we should crave the visibility that comes with having insight into how different areas of the business are performing. Are the bets we made starting to pay off? Are we struggling to see results on the marketing side, and if so, how will that impact our revenue numbers?
Alignment comes from showing how everything in the business is connected, and why the work done every day by our teams contributes to your overall success.
Redefine Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ activity anymore. For growth stage companies, the landscape of your industry, market, and company is changing at a pace that isn't conducive to annual planning.
The best companies we work with are constantly evaluating their direction. They take all of the information available to them, and evaluate when they should pursue new opportunities, where to double-down, or what isn’t working anymore.
With more real-time analysis and insights available to companies than ever before, it would make sense that the idea of strategic planning should evolve to account for this wealth of information.
However, we see far too many companies put an annual plan in place, and never revisit it. Or if they are revisiting it and making changes, they are struggling to communicate how a new direction or opportunity impacts the rest of the company.
As your strategic plan evolves, so should the directives being cascaded throughout departments and teams.
The best companies we work with are thinking about these changes in two ways. First, how do we communicate the ‘why’ behind these changes? Second, how do we roll-out these changes in a way that empowers our teams to go out and execute towards these new goals.
At a startup, you likely won’t ever have a shortage of good ideas. With new opportunities around every corner, it’s easy to be distracted by good ideas, and lose sight of what you set out to build. Something great.
I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last, but greatness requires sacrifice. And that starts with how your company is prioritizing the most important things that can really help you deliver on your vision.
As a Strategy and Operations Leader, you will be at the forefront of evaluating these ideas over the course of 2021. While you need to stay nimble and dynamic in how you approach these opportunities, don’t lose sight of your true focus.
You might have to say ‘no’ to a number of good ideas that distract you and your teams from achieving your goals.
This is another reason why spreadsheets or seldom used performance management tools will always fall short.
On a regular basis, you and your team should be reminded of what you are trying to achieve, how it ties into the company’s goals, and how you are performing against those goals. Having all of the information at your fingertips gives your team the direction and clarity needed to stay consistent on your march towards greatness.
So as you embark on this new year with all the promise that 2021 brings, make sure you have a solution and rhythm that allows you to align your team, dynamically react to changes in your strategy, and stay focused on the priorities that matter.