As 2018 comes to a close and the new year begins, it’s a perfect time for your organization to reflect on the year. What were you able to accomplish? Make sure you celebrate your successes – it’s important. Did you have any shortcomings? If so, how can you improve on them? If you haven’t started already, the end of the year is the time to commence the strategic planning process. Strategic planning will help you identify and agree on priorities for the year(s) ahead, focus your resources so you can execute and manage your plan more efficiently and ultimately hold people accountable, so you can position your company for success.
Identify and Agree on Priorities for Your Strategic Plan
Historically, real estate costs have been a company’s second or third largest cost, so short-term gain through cost-cutting has been a priority. Now that the workplace is becoming a strategic asset in the eyes of many executives, corporate real estate (CRE) professionals are ensuring that their strategic plans and initiatives are aligned more closely with the company’s long-term business strategy.
Determining priorities for your strategic plan takes a collaborative approach, especially when it comes to the corporate workplace. CRE professionals must get input and gain buy-in from several key stakeholders. Yes, the real estate team will provide input, based on data about the workplace and their employees they have gained over time, but also senior executives from Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and Operations may add valuable insight. Including other groups as you conduct your planning assessment will help to ensure that you select the right areas of improvement and identify appropriate goals. Most importantly, a collaborative approach will help you gain support for them which will be critical in the execution phase.
Execute and Manage Your Plan
Once you have agreed on goals, the next step is to prioritize them into a plan. The plan should align CRE efforts to achieve the company’s goals. For example, moving the company from a traditional environment to one more flexible or even activity based, entails more than just buying the right equipment. It probably includes changing the culture of the organization so that employees feel more comfortable in their new environment. In this case, achieving employee buy-in could be key to your success.
Your plan will also take the adoption of new policies and procedures and a strong communication plan to make it work. And, most importantly, your strategic plan should incorporate metrics so you can track successes and identify improvements.
Hold People Accountable
A final critical component of the strategic planning process is to hold people accountable to your plan. If you gathered feedback from the right people or groups and crafted a plan that aligns to the broader business strategy, you have already done a lot of things. This collaborative approach to strategic planning that involves many different groups should lead to higher engagement from your teams and better outcomes. If your stakeholders have a say in the strategic direction and initiatives you choose, they are more likely to have a sense of ownership in the process - and may make good team leaders for the various initiatives. Holding them accountable with regular intervals where you monitor the progress and results will help them to be successful in achieving their goals and will minimize any of your action items getting off track. You can work with each team or initiative leaders to set achievable goals.