I recently met with a business leader that I have known for 15 years and typically when I see him he has incredible energy and passion for his business. But this time it was different. He looked tired and down. I asked him how he was doing and he said that he was burned out and wasn’t fired up about his business anymore. He went on to explain there was one core issue that was causing all this frustration and it was dealing with people issues. If you have managed people at any point in your career you probably have had those days yourself.
You can minimize your people challenges by creating a talent plan that is tied to your vision. Often companies will hire one position at a time. They hire one employee here, and another person there. With a simple two or three year vision for your company, you can develop a talent plan that defines exactly what skill sets you need and the order in which you should hire them. Here is how you minimize people issues and make talent a competitive advantage for your organization:
- With your planning team, define a selected point in time that you want the vision defined for your organization and/or department. For example, it could be 12/31/2018 (three years).
- The vision statement should include subjective and financial components (vision template at www.stopsellingvanillaicecream.com)
- Subjective components include how you want your culture described; what products/services you are going to offer to what target markets in what geographic areas by 12/31/18.
- The financial components include some items such as total sales, gross margin % and gross margin % by target markets by 12/31/18. The total sales of the organization impacts the number of team members you may need.
- Once you determine your vision, have your team define the functional organizational structure that needs to be in place by 12/31/18. Use just functions to build the structure and consider no names or current people in the organization. Finalize the organizational structure that needs to be in place by 12/31/18 to achieve your vision. Remember that each function does equal a person. In smaller companies, one person could have their name in more than one function.
Once the structure is completed, you can now determine who has the skill sets and experience for each function in the structure. Once you complete filling out the structure with current talent you likely have talent decisions to make. Having completed this process hundreds of times, there are always functions that are unfilled and people that do not exactly fit into functions. Your talent plan gets started where you see these unfilled functions. You can now clearly define the functions and necessary skill sets that are needed and prioritize them. Simply stated, you now have your talent plan for the next three years to achieve your vision.
Next, you can put development plans in place for all individuals, based on what is needed to fulfill their functions and achieve the vision.
The benefits to having a talent plan to achieve your vision are numerous.
- You have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This minimizes the frustration and wasted time of constantly dealing with people issues.
- You know what position to fill next as your financial performance allows for it.
- If a position opens up for any reason, you already have a plan in place to fill it.
- Skill set voids are highlighted, leading to action plans to fill those voids.
- With a development plan in place for each employee, you increase the collective talent of your organization and as a result making it a competitive advantage.
Imagine having a three year talent plan for your company or department. A talent plan gives you the vision to proactively optimize and develop the talent in your organization. It will reenergize you about your business or department. It sets each team member up for success and helps you make the right hire each and every time. You can’t hire it if you first can’t see it. Remember: Those who plan, profit!