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Defining objectives, performance indicators and an action plan

Leadership challenges

Defining objectives, performance indicators and an action plan

Anyone who takes responsibility for a team quickly finds himself confronted with challenges; beyond creating the mission, vision and values; defining objectives (whether long term, medium term or short term); translating these objectives into action plans, identifying and selecting performance indicators and monitoring progress.

Starting from the organization’s strategy, these 5-year objectives and the annual objectives, and translating them into the objectives of the team or organization is the first step in establishing the operational framework. This seems “logical”, “simple”…. However, it is often the case that this declination, this cascade of objectives is not done in an obvious way.

The reasons for potential deviations are related to the articulation of strategic objectives, understanding and potential interpretations, etc. Indeed, we are all familiar with the acronym (A)SMART; we have all learned the importance of articulating our objectives in this form in order to align the organization; and yet….

We still regularly observe a lack of clear definition or articulation of objectives at a strategic level, which leads to a multitude of interpretations – these interpretations are all good intentions – and result in the declination of objectives that can go as far as to lead to opposing team or individual objectives.

The selection of performance indicators that will serve as a “dashboard” to ensure that we are moving in the right direction at all times, and be indicators of potential deviation, is another important step that in itself presents many challenges: what are the “right” performance indicators?

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The selection of performance indicators that will serve as a “dashboard” to ensure that we are moving in the right direction at all times, and be indicators of potential deviation, is another important step that in itself presents many challenges: what are the “right” performance indicators? How many indicators do we need on our dashboard? How often do we need to review our indicators? How do we decline, translate strategic performance indicators into indicators that make sense for the field teams?

How do we select the indicators that will generate the “right behaviors”? What is the culture to be created so that the organization does not become a “watermelon”: the dashboard tells us that everything is going well (indicators in green) while we are facing many problems or risks (the inside of the organization is actually quite “red”)? Identifying and selecting the indicators that will induce the right behaviors and signals in relation to the objectives is a key step.

Defining objectives and performance indicators are of no added value if we don’t then come up with a clear, well-organized action plan, with a definition of roles and responsibilities, a time-bound plan, with an adequate rhythm (ambitious and attainable plan) and which gives meaning to the path we have decided to trace. Taking the time to create this schedule, validate it with stakeholders, adjust it and also define the governance for its follow-up are steps that will then ensure a more linear “execution”.

Very often, the planning stage tends to be forgotten or neglected, under the pretext of urgency. However, the entire alignment of the teams and the organization is often played out at this pivotal stage.

Three key phases, three important phases, three challenging phases in the life of a team leader.

Three phases that will generally be repeated at least once a year, since organizations generally define objectives at the beginning of the year and review them at the end of the year (through processes generally grouped under the terminology “annual objectives and development plan”).

It is therefore important, as a leader, to take the time to sit down and try to understand the strategic objectives and the vision of the organization.

Armed with this understanding, the leader will be able, with his team, to work on the operational deployment (and key indicators) which, even if it gives a first impression of “wasting time”, will be one of the gas pedals for alignment, implementation and the achievement of results.

The Become a Leader team, with 75 years of experience in companies, is committed to providing leaders with the right tools, helping them make a difference in the field with these tools and enabling them to develop their full leadership potential. We address topics such as defining objectives for a team and at individual level, operational deployment and identification, implementation of the dashboard (key indicators and governance frequency).

The Become a Leader team is experienced in all the tools and processes it passes on to its clients. This learning is also an opportunity to share the team’s experience and that of other participants on the implementation of these tools in the field.

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