Team-Based Planning Template
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New leaders have a tough job. Not only do they have the technical aspects of their role to master, but they also have to master the craft of leading people.
One of the biggest mistakes we see organisations make when promoting someone from an operational to a leadership role, is that they don’t give them sufficient training in planning. They are so often given their objectives for the year and a team and some resources, then left to fend for themselves.
The solution is team-based planning, and the key to doing this successfully is to have a proven process. This episode can help bridge that gap.
Listen in or watch as we walk you through the planning process we’ve just been through. And if you’re thinking that it’s February already and it’s too late to do any planning, think again. Any time is a good time to plan, especially if you don’t have one already, and most new leaders should think of doing this on a quarterly or six-monthly basis, at least until they have the confidence to plan over a longer period of time.
Enjoy, and make use of the template that you can download below.
Listen or watch the podcast below, or click on the heading to access the transcript.
Jan Terkelsen: [00:00]
Jan Terkelsen: Well, hello Michelle. Welcome to 2023
Michelle Terkelsen: I know. Woohoo It's already um, off to a good start for a lot of people I know, which is great.
Jan Terkelsen: And, and we hope for those who are listening, it's um, you are included , that you feel that it's off to a good start.
One of the things that I have been itching to do was our plan, as you know, Michelle because being the MBTI type that I am, so I'm an ENFJ, I love to have a plan and I love to have that structure in order.
And once we have a plan, then we are really clear on our roles and what we need to do. So this episode is all about planning for the next year. Now, this year for us, we have made a decision that this is the year of the new and emerging leader. So most of our content, pretty much all of it will be focused on the new and emerging leader.
So if you are an aspiring leader lucky you, you are gonna get some great content throughout the year. However, if you are leading a team of people and you think that one of them is, or a couple of them are new and emerging you, let them know about the podcast cause we're gonna have great content for that.
And if you are an emerging leader, to be able to create a plan for your team is one of the most important skills, wouldn't you say Michelle?
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah, and I was just thinking even if you have an established team and you have been a leader for a little while, this could be a bit of a refresh [02:00] for you as well.
Jan Terkelsen: Yeah. Okay. So let's have a look at what are some of those key areas that we are going to look at today when we take you through our presentation. Because in our presentation we've got a 10 step team-based planning. Framework and we're gonna take you through all of them.
So the first one, the first step that Michelle is gonna go into a little bit more detail is the Situation Analysis.
Then step two is how do you create a SWOT Analysis and what is a SWOT analysis and why do you do it? We are going to look at the step three Stakeholder Analysis. We'll look at our team purpose. Now, if you are a business, you might see this as, what is your business purpose or your overall purpose.
Team values. If you are in a large organisation you might already have values. If you are not, this is a great opportunity to create some values and we are gonna share with you some of our values as well.
We'll have a look at setting objectives. So this is getting into the detail, you know, who does what.
Then we'll look at what resources and support you need, which is step seven. Step eight is how do you shore up the plan? And this is a really important step that a lot of people miss out on, but it really does help to solidify it.
Step nine is creating a, a timeline. You know, what are those critical points?
And then step 10 is monitoring and following up. You know, how do we keep the plan alive?
So take it away, Michelle. Step
Michelle Terkelsen: one.
Michelle Terkelsen: Okay, step one, Situation Analysis.
A lot of people skip this part and they jump straight into setting objectives. And the beauty of this is that a Situation Analysis really gets everybody onto the same page in terms of what's been happening in the team, what went well, where, where are we heading, where do we want tohead?
So it's actually coalescing all of these sort of little thought bubbles that are going on in everybody's head and getting it out [04:00] there onto one page so that everybody is really on the same page. And so we call it a Situation Analysis.
And the way that we have found works really well for teams is to start with a bit of a, a reflection.
And so when we say, okay, so let's reflect on the previous year, some people go straight into the team and the team dynamic side of things, or they go straight into the financials or they go straight in, and then they just tend to focus there. What we have found is a little bit of structure around these reflections can be very useful.
And so the first thing is, you can reflect... so there are a couple of ways you do this is reflect on these key areas such as financials. So what were our financials like last year? And you could do it month by month. If you have good record keeping, you can go, you can put a calendar up on, on the board and go through January, right through to December in each of these key areas.
So that's super systematic way to do it.
And so you reflect on how well did we do in our financials, if we were to reflect on that.
Our reflections on team learning and development. What did we do? How do we feel about it? What went well, what didn't go well?
Processes and operational excellence. When we reflected on that, what did we notice.
Customers, clients, and then marketing and social media could be another area that you reflect on. And so what you would do is you would then start with your reflections in each of these areas.
And then you have a look at, so what is the current state as we are today, about to move into the year, moving forward, how would we describe the current state in each of these areas, and you could either go positive, negative, you know, put a number from one to five, five being fantastic in a great position.
It's really up to you as to how you decide to categorise that, or the words that you use to frame that up.
And then the next one is, it's almost like dipping your [06:00] toe in the water in terms of, so what would we like to create in each of these areas?
What would a desired state look like for our financials, for team development, for marketing, for customers, clients, those sorts of things.
And then, and then what, you know, this could take, and I wouldn't skimp on this. This is such this is going to give you such rich information that you will draw on throughout the rest of the plan.
Is there anything that you would add to this?
Jan Terkelsen: No Michelle, so just so you know that these are our focus areas. So you might have different focus areas and also, you know, in our template that we'll share with you, we also have action statements. So this could be something that you could capture, so when you are reflecting and someone you know, you think, oh, actually that's a bit of a missing piece for us.
Where are we gonna use that? Are we gonna have a parking lot where we actually park all those things? Because we want tobe able to capture things, so, so we just said action statements, but you could say parking lot when you actually do this as well.
Michelle Terkelsen: Right.
Jan Terkelsen: So that's step one, Situation Analysis, and then step two is the SWOT.
So what are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths? And the reason why we do a SWOT is because you want to be really clear, because businesses change on a dime now. You know, like in instead of doing the three year plan, you might want todo every quarter or every six months because things are changing so rapidly and you want tobe able to capture this.
So the strengths, strengths are really characteristics of your team or your business or even your project that give it an advantage over others. So what are some of your strengths? And so some of the strengths could be the technical capability of your people. So it could be that you have a tech strength that perhaps others in the project or in your business don't have. So really it is around characteristics. So they're more [08:00] internal.
Then you've got weaknesses. Now, these are characteristics that place your team or your business or your project at a disadvantage relative to others.
So what are some of the disadvantage? Now, it could be that you don't have enough people in your team to be able to take on the project at the moment, or you have high turnover. So what are those things that give you a bit of a disadvantage?
Opportunities. So now we're actually capturing those external things, so elements that your business project or your team could exploit to its advantage.
So what are the opportunities here? So you might have some clients that you've worked with before that will actually introduce you to a a new client and things like that. So what are some of those opportunities?
Then you've got threats. So these are elements in the environment, so that could cause trouble for your business or your project or your team.
So that could be political, it could be environmental. You know, it could be the financial instability. So those are those external things.
Now, the reason why we capture them is because we want tomake sure that our objectives reflect those opportunities and maybe we need to mitigate some risks. And the way in which we've done this is we've actually had butcher's paper with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
We've separated the teams and we've started, you know, like two people or three people at each area, and then we give them five minutes and then people kind of circulate. So at least you have a really broad idea of people's notion about what their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are. Okay. And so step three, Michelle.
Michelle Terkelsen: Terrific. The next one is we have a look at stakeholders and stakeholders are are different from clients, stakeholders are. Anybody who is going to be either advantaged or disadvantaged by your success or failure. And so you would look at stakeholders almost like [10:00] partners and people who you want to support in order for you to be successful and vice versa.
Jan Terkelsen: And one really good way to do this is just really start with a brainstorm. Who do we believe to be our most important stakeholders and why? And then you ask a, a couple of key questions, and that is what, what do they currently think of us, these stakeholders and what do we want them to say about us in, you know, six or 12 months time.
And if you actually are not really clear about the answer to those questions, then that leads you to you know, take on an action. And that is to find out, so what do our stakeholders currently think of us? And and that will highlight some of the gaps that you may have, or it may highlight some opportunities that you could leverage.
Information is key here, and so really spend some time on understanding what your stakeholders think of you and what you want them to say about you, and if they've got any feedback f or you. And it's always a good idea to prioritise your stakeholders. So somebody who has a lot of power and influence over your business, you know, obviously you want to give them more time, energy, and effort, as opposed to somebody who doesn't have a huge impact on your success, but you just want to keep them close.
It may be just feeding them some information as opposed to actively engaging with an important stakeholder. And so this is a, a pretty useful step in the process in order to gain insight as to what's working, what's not working in your business, and what they think of you.
And again thinking about, you know, do, will we need to create an objective around that if it's that important to us. And hint, hint, you always want to have an objective around your stakeholders.
Jan Terkelsen: Alright, step four, our team purpose. Now if you are an existing team, you might have already done your team purpose, but I think it's really worthwhile reviewing that.
Or if you're an existing business, you might see it as what is the purpose of your [12:00] business. So for Michelle and I this year, our purpose is you know, developing materials and enhancing the capability of new and emerging leaders. So all of our focus is around that particular area this year.
And again, it was different from last year because we have seen the changing need and we are adapting to that environment. So team purpose really, it's a, a statement and it's essential, I think, you know, in the ever changing environment because it really allows the team and your individual, the individuals and your team to remain focused in what they have to deliver and who they're responsible for.
And it really ensures that you are delivering on your key focus at the right time and in the right way. And you know, your team purpose has questions like, you know, you know, what is it that we are going to do? Who are we doing it for, and why are we doing it? And then you actually create a statement that solidifies that, who we are doing it for and why we are doing it.
And Michelle, is there anything else that you want to add to that?
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah. A lot of people when they do this purpose statement think that it's a marketing statement that they, something that would go on brochures and things like that. This is not what that is. That would be more like a, perhaps a vision statement or mission statement. This is a, a, this is very practical, very grounded.
This is for your team and people within your organisation and perhaps your stakeholders. Identifying what it is we actually do each, you know, or almost each day, or you know, is really grounded in practicality. So don't think about it as a marketing statement. Make it as practical as possible, and you will, you can do that test.
And, and that could be, you know, could somebody who doesn't know anything about your business, read this purpose statement and get, and get an understanding and appreciation of what it would be like to work in this team and what you actually do. So don't skimp on the [14:00] words. Sometimes, you know, it could be couple of paragraphs worth.
But be practical and don't use sort of flowery words and, and just know that another test is that if somebody new to the team comes in, they have a look at the purpose statement and they get an appreciation of what, what it is that you do and why you do it, and who you do it for.
Jan Terkelsen: That's right. So there's three steps. Describe what it is your team does or delivers and produces. Step two, who do you do it for? And again, that's what we talked about your stakeholder. And who are the most important stakeholders? And step three is why you do what you do and the final impact of that work, you know, to your client or your customer.
Alright, next step.
Michelle Terkelsen: Next step values. And a lot of teams, or every organisation now has a set of organisational values. And when you think about, so why, why do they have values? When you think about an organisation that first starts out you know, they might have a couple of people, it's pretty clear as to, you know, what are the principles that drive us, you know, we want to create this sort of product and we want to do it in this sort of way.
And if you think about the relationship between your purpose and your values, your purpose is your what? And your values is your how. So how are we gonna go about delivering on this thing that we that we are responsible for delivering on?
And so your values, you can think about them in terms, what are going to be those principles that will guide our behaviour, how we treat each other, how we share information? And so values really are the, the DNA, the essence, the character of your team.
If you work for an organisation you could use your organisation's values and look at, so how could our team bring those values to life as we execute on our purpose, on our team purpose? Or you could be a team that decides we, we are gonna have our own team values. And you could start by [16:00] looking at, so what are our personal values?
And, and that's exactly how Jan and I started ours. You know, one of our top values that we both agreed on was learning. We love, you know, we're lifelong learners and freedom is really important to us. And so we actually were able to embed those into our business as business values. .
And so it would start with a bit of a brainstorm perhaps with your team. You know, what are the values that are, you know, important to you? What are the values that are important to us collectively that would guide our behaviour?
You could call them principles, but you know, we, we like the word values. And and then you go from there. And here's an example of ours. One of our values was Always Better.
Good enough is good enough, but even just slightly better is so much better. That was our little catchphrase and the way that we then stepped through it was, you know, we maintain an attitude of, so this is bringing that Always Better value to life.
Continuous and never ending improvement. So above the line thinking was another way that we would maintain that attitude of Always Better. And taking ownership, like really taking ownership of our successes and more importantly, our failures.
The daily litmus test for us was, did I surprise and delight anybody that I work with today? Or did I surprise and delight myself with my work today?
And the, I, I really like the way that we've done our litmus test because values can just be principles and very esoteric sometimes. They're just sort of ideas or concepts, but when you can ground them in your actions and reflect on, okay, so did I live my values today? Did we do that? Then through that daily litmus test, you are bringing your values to life.
Jan Terkelsen: You know, the research shows that those people who have their personal values in [18:00] alignment with the work values or business values are a lot more constructive, engaged, and usually more successful. Alright, so that's the step five. Values.
Jan Terkelsen: And now we're gonna have a look at step six objectives. So this is when we are really getting into the, the nitty gritty of the, the planning.
And what I would say around objectives is you want to then have a look at the things that you've captured in your car part from your situation analysis, your stakeholder, the team purpose. Did every anything come up that you need to you know, like really start to put in those key focus areas.
So remember we had about five key focus areas. I wouldn't have any more than seven. Definitely no more than seven. But if you can keep it to, you know, like three to seven, that's usually good.
So these are an objective on what we want to achieve, you know, what are the actions and how are we going to get there? You want it to be specific, you want it to be quantifiable.
You want to have realistic targets that measure the accomplishment of the goal, you know, over a specific period. Then you want to describe what those results must achieve, and you want to describe what success looks like in terms of those, you know, specific measurements and the outcomes that you are hoping, or that you want, you know, obviously you want to make them realistic so you'll be able to achieve them.
So I, we want to share with you what we have done in relationship to that. One of our objectives, or the key focus areas was our customer and clients. And so with the, the template, we had the key focus area, and it was customer and clients. So for you it could be that, or it could be around your processes, operational excellence.
And then we had what was the objective? So be a, you know, so make sure that you have a specific and [20:00] smart objective around that. What is the measure? So how will you be able to measure that? So is it going to through an engagement survey? Is it you know, customer satisfaction feedback? Then we want to know who is accountable for it.
What are the actions? So, and this is really important. So what actions are going to allow you to support that objective and to achieve that? And after each action you have, who is responsible by when and what resources that you need. So this is going to be a template that we'll share with you. And then we've done this for each of our key focus areas.
Now what we've also done with our objectives is we've made them into quarterly. So we've done a one year objective for each area and then we are doing quarterly objectives for each one.
So again, depending on what your business or your team has the capacity for, that's what we, you know, you have to be flexible.
Is there anything that you would want to share with that, Michelle?
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah, so at at the very, very beginning when we did our situation analysis, we looked at a desired state. This is when, you know before, cuz for some people this can, this is really the nuts and bolts of the planning session. And you need to have everybody on board. Everybody should have come along the journey to get to this point because this is, This is a litmus test, really.
So go back to your situation analysis and have a look at, so what was our design state in terms of financials? Now, does that still apply, given that we've done our SWOT, our values, looked at it, who our key stakeholders are, looked at what's happening in the external environment and, and have a look at, so what is our desired state? Is it in terms of each of those areas? And then you will then start developing an objective. So don't feel as though it has to be specific, measurable, realistic, with a timeframe in order for it to be a good objective, just get something on paper and you can refine and refine as you [22:00] go.
Jan Terkelsen: Okay. Next steps. I think step seven.
Michelle Terkelsen: Yes. So what is step seven?
Jan Terkelsen: I think it's about resources, Michelle
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah. So, yeah, that's right. Resources and support. So quite often we'll do our planning and we'll set some objectives and, you know, and then we'll realise, gosh, in order to achieve all those objectives, we are gonna need money and some support.
And so this is just an opportunity for you to carve out some thinking and some actions around, so what sort of resources will we need in order to achieve those objectives and what sort of support will we need?
And so I would do that. We would do that for each of your objective. So what are the resources that we need? Are they financial? Are they time based? Are they skills? Like, do we need some skills? Is that a resource that we need?
Do we need some social media support? Like what are some of those resources and support? This could be just a brainstorm. So for each objective go through, in the financials, what is gonna be the resources that we need in order to achieve that objective? And do we need support either internally or externally in order to achieve that?
Jan Terkelsen: Yeah. So for example, for us with our financials, we realised that we needed more support from our accountant and our bookkeeper. So we have made a monthly catch up so we can create a bit of a business dashboard. So that was an example. Yeah. . Yeah.
All right, so that's step seven.
Jan Terkelsen: Step eight is reviewing the plan. Now, as a judger in the Myers Briggs wanting to, you know, our favourite words are done and next, we were kind of like, yeah, yeah, come on, let's complete the plan.
This is a really important time for the team to just, you know, spend a couple of minutes just having a look. You know, go around the room or if you are on Zoom or, you know, doing it virtually is [24:00] just do a little bit of reflection of where we are and our objectives, and does it align to our purpose and vision and the feedback that we've been getting.
And reviewing the plan, I would ask two questions. So what do we need to let go of? Because some teams just keep on adding and adding, and that's why we only need a couple of, you know, like maybe five to seven objectives because you want to make sure you nail them. You know, set yourself up for success. So what do we need to let go of?
And then what are we going to do now that is not in the plan? Like, have we missed anything? So again, those questions just prompt a, another level of thinking that perhaps you wouldn't if you were just going to rush through it. Yeah, so review the plan is step eight.
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah. And so, so to the, to that last point, Jan, sometimes our day-to-day activities get lost and you think, oh, so how does that link, like, we're doing these objectives, but how does that link to the day-to-day things that we are doing? Just like you said. Put that in the plan.
Put your, you know, your day-to-day activities or not day-to-day activities, those, the work that you do on a regular basis needs to go in the plan. So, for example, you know, if you are a business and you know that every month you need to review, review client records, that is an objective that goes into the plan. If it's a, it's a big chunk of work, and then you step back, like you were saying, Jan, and saying, oh, okay, so is that everything that we do currently?
We'll put that, we put that in the plan. That could be one objective or it could be a couple of objectives, or you could find that it fits under some of those different categories. But don't forget to put the stuff that you are doing now into the plan.
And also don't forget to take out those things that, you know, really aren't that important now, or not, or aren't relevant cuz you can't just keep adding, adding, adding every year. It doesn't work. And we've seen teams become, oh, I don't, or almost stifled [26:00] and dysfunctional because they're, and stressed out because they just keep adding, adding.
Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, demotivated.
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah. So the next one, step nine is create a timeline. If you don't schedule around your priorities, you are doomed to fail, personally, professionally, and as a team.
And so that's all we are doing now. We are just scheduling in. These objectives and putting them on a timeline, whether it's a group calendar whether it is an actual, I've seen teams have an actual timeline and put their objectives at the top of the line, and then who's responsible at the bottom, and, and then they can start to plot other things that are going on in the business or the environment, public holidays, all those sorts of things.
So it is a, really good strategic tool to have a timeline, definitely, and then plot when those objectives are due onto that timeline.
Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, because what we've seen is that when you start to actually see it, all the objectives drop in a certain kind of like one or two months, and that's when they're doing their financial and they're like, oh, okay. Yeah. So it, it sounds like a lot of work, but I tell you what, when you have a really robust plan, you are going to get the benefits of role clarity.
You're gonna understand expectations. You know, when you are on track, you know, when you're off track.
Jan Terkelsen: And that's why step 10 is really important is the monitoring and following up. You know, how do we keep this plan live?
And so the agreements might be that we are going to have in our weekly meetings or monthly meetings, we're just gonna review the plan for 10 minutes just to see how we are going with it. You know, is there something that we've missed, we need to take out? So I think that's really important.
And two is, you know, how often are you going to check up and check in? So if you can agree on those. So how do we keep the plan alive? So do you actually have it up on a wall or do you In your agenda, you know, like, I think something tangible is gonna be really important.
And that's what we've done, [28:00] Michelle, isn't it? You know, like we've actually done a plan on a page and we are gonna share with you our plan on a page because we just think that when you see something on a regular basis, it really just does help the the mind to settle with, ah, that's where we are going, that's what we are doing.
So in our plan on a page, we have that, the up the top we've got, this is the year of the emerging leader. So it's kind of like our purpose, you know, this is the thing that's really driving us this year. And then these are the columns that we have. We have our focus areas. So we have, and these are the, the focus areas that we, that we had mentioned.
You know, financial team, operational excellence, et cetera. Then we have. The focus for the year. So what is the focus for the year, financially operational, customers?
Then we have our objective. So what is the quarter one objective? Then we have quarter two objective, quarter three, quarter four. Now we haven't completed those quarter three and four objectives, and we've only really completed quarter one and quarter two objectives, cuz again, you want to be agile in your planning as well.
Then we have a monthly focus and then we have a weekly focus. So, for example, our monthly focus in our financials is to review our financial headlines with the bookkeeper. And then we have a weekly focus is, we are gonna focus on our invoicing and incoming payments. So they're just an example. And then down the bottom we have our vision.
You know, like what is our overall purpose?
Michelle Terkelsen: And the, you know, this is such an important step in the process keeping the plan alive. Having done this for over 20 years or so with, with various different teams, the teams that do actually achieve some really great things over the course of the year are the ones that their plan.
They don't just do it, have that team [30:00] session, everyone's motivated, and then off they go and do their normal work. They keep it alive by bringing it into their team meetings. They will have a quarterly review and even six weekly review and then people take those objectives that they're responsible for, and then they will do something and then, you know, maybe do a plan on a page for themselves for all the objectives that they're responsible for.
And so I can't stress enough that you need, it's not enough just to do the plan. You need to execute the plan, is really important. Yes. And yeah. Plan on a page is a great idea.
Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, so Michelle and I did our planning session over two sessions and we did it virtually. So sometimes we'll do it face-to-face, sometimes virtually, and it worked really well because we were both motivated to do it. And I think, you know, that's the most important thing, you know. So how do you get your team engaged.
Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah, and we had a process. You know, for, for some people, oh, we're gonna get, go and do a planning. And then it's like, oh, okay, we, where do we start? What we've given teams now, and what you have now is a process and it's it, it's not, it's not difficult. It just requires a little bit of time.
Jan Terkelsen: Yeah. And sometimes it does get messy when you are trying to quantify what those measurements of success are and to create a smart objective and things like that. But if you get stuck, just go on. At least you've captured it. That's the most important thing. Just kind of, you know, spend a couple of hours and you might want to break it into two parts.
So we did it into two parts, you know, the first we did, you know, like one to five, and then the rest we did in our next session. Don't leave it too long between sessions. If you can't do it in a full, you know, half day or full day session, or sometimes people take two days to do their planning because they use it as a team building activity.
And I think what it's one of the most effective team building activities because the team are engaged in something that is meaningful for them and that is going to, you know, [32:00] impact them as well. I think that's, you know, the best team building, don't you think Michelle?
Michelle Terkelsen: Oh, without a doubt, Jan. You know working on work is one of the best ways to build a team.
Jan Terkelsen: And have fun and go out to eat and all those other things. But yeah, it is one in the in the mix. So yeah, we really encourage you to have a go at the team-based planning and if I was to set up my team for a team-based planning session, I would actually give them the 10 step process at the before so they can actually start to reflect.
So you want to prime people to think about those responses before you actually get them in the room or on, on your you know, in your team meetings, on your team.
So, good luck with it. We'd love some feedback. If you have any questions, please reach out. And remember, this is the year of the new and emerging leader, and as a new and emerging leader, you really want to have this under your belt because if you know how to actually create a plan and then be able to communicate that, it's going to be a really useful resources and tool for. Okay, ciao.
Michelle Terkelsen: Bye. [34:00]
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