New Year Team Planning Hacks – 6 Tried and Tested Ways to CRUSH the Year!
ChampLeaders Boot Camp,  Leadership

New Year Team Planning Hacks – 6 Tried and Tested Ways to CRUSH the Year!

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First published December 26, 2018. Updated with new content November 16, 2019

It's the start of the year once more and new year's resolution is upon us. While we make personal resolutions ( lose weight, spend less, be happy) as Champ Leaders, it's important to take the time to prepare your team as well. New Year leadership planning is a great step towards a better team.

A lot has happened in 2019 and it's crucial to reflect hard on the lessons learned from all the highs and lows of the year.

Reflecting on the pain points of the year and genuinely assessing what went wrong maybe a bitter pill to swallow but I tell you, it's worth it.

Just the same, looking hard at the victories for the year is just as critical because it gives you perspective on all the right things that have happened.

 More importantly, it will establish baseline of expectations for the next time a similar project happens in the next year.

So how do you do it?

I have listed a couple of steps that I’ve tried and tested over the years on how to get you started and keep your thoughts organized. As you brainstorm with your team, you may end up spending a lot of time going through the nitty-gritty and will keep you off track.

So, here's a few things you'd like to try with your team as you prepare them for the New Year leadership planning.

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1. Prepare before the actual planning.

As a Champleader it's important that you prepare ahead of time and do your own assessment before meeting with the team.

Your own assessment will help shape how the session will flow on the day of. The last thing you'd like to happen is get derailed in the meeting and end up getting into a blame - game situation with the team.

Discussing what went well and what didn't can get people uncomfortable especially if they do not know what to expect. They may feel put on the spot and will be defensive. This is the last thing you need in the planning.

The team needs to be open, engaging and willing to make a change for the planning to be successful. There is no room for negativity.

Here's an outline of how you can get started.  It follows the 3 Most Important Attributes of any Operations  - The 3P’s Trifecta (People, Process and Performance).

Performance 

Revisiting performance of the year is the 1st thing you should do for the prep work. Look into  each of your team's performance. Analyze the trends and look into opportunities that can be improved.

A best practice is to look into the annual performance broken down by month. If you have a mid year performance review, this will make assessment and analysis much easier since you already had initial data to work on.

Look closely on your team members who are lagging behind and the ones who have been consistently performing in the year. Look into behaviors that drove the stellar performance or the ones that were PIP. This will give you perspective on what you need to reinforce in the next year.

Process

Operations is thriving on processes. Processes are there primarily to make operations predictable - or at least create some semblance of predictability.

It sets expectations on the steps and actions of the team. While this may seem very simple, the lack of processes can actually cause major operational breakdowns that are extremely costly if left unaddressed.

So you'll be surprised to know that sometimes, these processes - although key in any operations can actually drag efficiency and cause tension between teams. I'm sure you've heard  QA vs. Ops or Ops vs. Training or even Ops vs. the world!

I've seen these feuds in varying levels over the years and more often than not, it's due to process opportunities that were unchecked.

As you assess processes, prioritize the ones that created friction between teams and see how you can improve the process to lessen these instances or better yet, completely eliminated.

Examples of these processes that typically create friction are hiring process, QA scoring and methodology, training on-boarding process, coaching process etc.

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People

Assess your team on the following key categories that relate to your people.

1

Attriti​on

Look into the attrition performance of your team. Understand the calculation (it varies depending on companies) and what drove the attrition up or down.


More importantly, work with Human Resources to get the attrition reasons.


Sometimes the reasons our agents give us may not translate to the reasons in the exit interview. It's best to truly understand what the reasons  are.


Get past the emotion and truly look into the drivers why attrition got worst or has gotten better.

2

Team Engagement

If your company does regular e-sat (employee satisfaction) then use this data to assess feedback. If not, it's not too late to roll out one that you can use for your planning.


If you're just about to do it though, be prepared to see outstanding issues being brought up.


It's best to have regular e-sat rolled out throughout the year so that you can trend the issues, see if things got better and really see if there are recurring issues.


Team Engagement Facts:

"Companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue" - Aberdeen


Team Engagement is a MUST to survive in the workplace. 

LEARN HOW TO DO BUILD A

SUSTAINABLE TEAM ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM

TODAY

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Once you get the data, look into these 3 things:


a.  What are the activities that keep your team engaged?

Is it mini team building activities? Is it coaching time with you? Training conducted in the year?


b. What are the activities they wish to have more?

In my years of experience, I usually see comments such as more coaching and feedback, training, huddles and team building. Look into the frequency of these activity and see how you can make it more frequent.


c. What are the opportunities identified by the team?

This is where the team can either honestly tell you what are the things that went wrong OR they mask it with saying there are no opportunities and then they leave. Your team will only be honest with you if you've built that relationship with them.


If  not, then this question will probably be hard to answer. Nonetheless, genuinely ask for the opportunities for improvement. Who knows, you might be surprised with how candid they can be on the things they'd like to see change. 


If you had issues with your team not listening to you in the year, add this as part of your lessons learned and come up with ways to  make sure it doesn't happen again. 


And if you are ready to Build a Sustainable Team Engagement Program for 2020, then get my recently launched e-book, Team Engagement Champion - The Ultimate Guide on How to Build a Team Engagement Program for Any Team in 90 Days or Less - A Step-by-Step Guide for Managers


d. What were the Training received by the team throughout the team?

However this is rolled out in your company, assess the Training rolled out and get the feedback. If your company has a centralized LMS - Learning Management System, then reach out to the owner and see if you can get results and feedback.


Oftentimes, this is handled by Training to analyze but I think in the spirit of partnership and shared accountability, Training department will usually share this information


Assess the topics, content and attendance in these Training. This is important to understand if the training conducted were effective.


Also, it will help you understand how you can help in taking it forward with your team to reinforce topics and maybe as simple as attendance.

3

Training Received

However this is rolled out in your company, assess the Training rolled out and get the feedback. If your company has a centralized LMS - Learning Management System, then reach out to the owner and see if you can get results and feedback.


Oftentimes, this is handled by Training to analyze but I think in the spirit of partnership and shared accountability, Training department will usually share this information


Assess the topics, content and attendance in these Training. This is important to understand if the training conducted were effective.


Also, it will help you understand how you can help in taking it forward with your team to reinforce topics and maybe as simple as attendance.

2. Review your company's goals for the coming year and align your plans accordingly.

While it's great to come up with your own initiative, it's good to align your initiatives with the goal of the company. This is important to consider so you can make sure that 2 things will happen.

  • You get support

This means that resources will prioritize your initiative as the same goals are being reinforced to them by their own managers

  • You support the overall vision of the company

Aligning your initiative with the goals of the company means you support the company's direction. You respect the overall vision and march towards it in your own way.

3. Meet and plan with the team. 

Planning for your team does not mean you do it all alone. It's equally important to get your team's input so that when you roll out the action plan there is a high probability of acceptance.

Do you know what the single most important thing to remember when executing on any action plan or project in operations?

It's buy in.

Without it, your plans may as well be fed to the dogs. It's harsh. But it's the truth. You need everyone in your team complete bought in on the plans.

Do you know the best way to make sure your team has buy in?

It's when you include them on the planning.
And this is not just inviting them and having them listen to you. This means they have active participation and you are genuinely listening.

In this meeting, brainstorm on the 3 components you did prep work on. Understand more about your observations and analysis.

There is always a story behind these 3P’s. Get into the root cause and drill down on workable solutions.

SOLVE YOUR TEAM'S ENGAGEMENT ISSUES TODAY!

Team Engagement Champion
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Wondering how you can KEEP them motivated so they work harder?

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4. Come up with solutions together.

With data analyzed and feedback gathered then it’s time to come up with solutions together.

The key word is – TOGETHER!

Outline the solutions to the opportunities identified so that you have a clear picture of each solution and viability.

One thing to keep in mind though, each solution needs resources or tools to be implemented. Depending on your company’s direction, these resources/tools may be limited.

Also, don’t discount the time it takes to execute on the solution. If it means long hours to get it done, then make sure you have everyone’s agreement on it.

This is why you need your team to help bring in solutions. This fosters the spirit of collaboration. It brings in dialog and most of all creativity.

Having a limited budget or in some situations, no budget at all does not mean there is no solution to identified opportunities.

This is where creativity comes into play.

Be creative on coming up with solutions together. Push the boundaries and don’t get caught up in “this is how we’ve been doing it” mindset.

5. Write it all down!

After you’ve brainstormed with the team on solutions, you need to document it.

This is what makes the new year leadership planning real.

Project manage each of the solutions and the most important thing is, create timelines and owners. Without these 2 components, you can make sure nothing will move and get done.

6. Schedule follow ups and progress review.

Operations will get busy. You may be pulled in different directions throughout the year. And so it’s important that before you and your team get pulled into several directions, that you all stay the course on your plans.

Schedule realistic follow up discussions throughout the year. Set expectations on what you expect on these meetings so the team has time to execute on the actions and also allow for things that come up.

The key here is to meet up again and review where you are on these plans. At one point, you’ll have to adjust the timeline or the focus but stay true on the objective.

There you have it!

New Year leadership planning is not as hard if you know how to structure and prepare for it. Engage your team early on so you can make the most of the session and have meaningful discussions.

Remember this saying as you go through your planning, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

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About Daisy Casio

Daisy Casio is a Passionate Operations Leader with over 16 years of work experience in various leadership roles. She has run diverse teams in multiple locations and has built teams from the ground up. She is the Founder of ChampLeaders Blog dedicated to transforming leaders to Champions. She writes about leadership, management, productivity, career tips, team engagement and many more. 

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