Chamber Chat - Jon Powell
I'm fortunate to be involved in a lot of businesses of different shapes and sizes. From Employer Solutions Ltd, employee relations and engagement specialists and an SME in the heart of Lancaster, to Enterprise Educators UK, a national membership organisation supporting enterprise educators predominantly in universities across the UK, to Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, and of course the day job at one of the best universities in the UK, Lancaster University. I've been involved in two of these organisations for more than 15 years and the other two for over 5 years. The common thread I would like to highlight here is the importance of a clear and well communicated mission and strategy, regardless of whether the organisation is big or small.
I don't think anyone would argue with me that our most valuable assets in our businesses are the people. But do all those people understand what the business is trying to achieve and how they contribute to that success? Do they know what success looks like for them locally in their role? Is there a golden thread from the senior management and the organisation’s goals, mission statement and strategy to the operational plan for the team on the ground, their measures of success, key performance indicators (KPIs), dashboards, personal development review (PDRs) objectives etc.
I've often heard people say "what is his/her plan". They are denying ownership of the organisational planning and its success by assuming they don't have an importance role to play in that success. An empowered workforce is directly involved in setting the mission statement and the strategy and it is their responsibility to see it implemented on an operational level. It isn't the senior team/owner/CEO's strategy, it is everybody's strategy. It may need some interpretation to make it relevant and measurable for everybody in their role and that is where objectives and KPIs should be agreed so everyone can see what success looks like to them in their role.
I've not met an organisation that has this perfected. It's about marginal gains, small improvements you can make to improve the golden thread in your organisation. But the small things can make a huge difference. As you might have guessed I'm passionate about this topic. I would love to hear from Chamber members that have some good practice to share. @JP_JonPowell on Twitter or find me on Linked In.
John Powell is Head of Enterprise and Innovation Services at Lancaster University, and a Director of the Chamber. Lancaster University are also Chamber Ambassadors.