Bob’s business was growing by a consistent 30 percent per year.

Then it stopped.

Two of his key salespeople had left, followed by his vice president of marketing. A handful of his most promising emerging leaders were moving toward the door, too. Bob’s revenue had flatlined.

Sue’s business was growing by 100 percent per year. The speed at which the company was expanding was barely manageable. At any given time her company had 20-plus job searches under way.

And there was no sign of a slowdown…until her people’s performance started to falter. Accountability became wobbly. At 5 p.m. the office was a ghost town. The previous palpable energy in the office now was dull and dreary. Everyone looked burned out and tired.

Both Bob and Sue had the same problem: no People Plan.

How’s your people plan? 13 questions to ask now

Rate yourself on the following questions (click here to do it online). Answer each with “Yes” or “No,” then total them up at the end.

1. Is your revenue growing as quickly as you want it to?

2. Is your profit growing as quickly as you want it to?

3. Do you have the right people in the right roles doing the right things?

4. Are you retaining or losing your superstars?

5. Are you using specific, proven techniques to help your executive team lead better by seeing into their blind spots, overcoming challenging behaviors, and expanding their vision and ability to elevate others?

6. Have you identified your next generation of leaders?

7. If so, are you following a specific, proven process to cultivate them?

8. Would you like to get more accountability, communication, and execution from your team?

9. Are you navigating rapid growth or turnaround where internal priorities are frequently shifting and the team is challenged to quickly adapt and stretch?

10. Are you frequently resolving conflict between key executives or team members?

11. Does your culture have a prevalent victim mentality where problems are focused on rather than outcomes?

12. Do you know how to scale and allocate your human resources to get more done with fewer people?

13. Are you keeping your finger on the pulse of the culture and implementing programs to increase emotional equity?

If you have five or more “No” answers you probably have no People Plan. So let’s get one.

Key components of your people plan

The reason most CEOs want a People Plan is three-fold: greater profit, greater revenue, and greater retention and development of their key team members. With an effective People Plan you’ll get:

  • 35 percent more productivity from your team members,
  • 67-100 percent more emotional engagement, and
  • revenue or profits growing up to 210 percent annually.

For your People Plan, you’ll need the following:

1. Accountability Structures and Rewards/Consequences. I cover super effective accountability structures in our Accountability Kit, so I won’t repeat them here. The main point is that everyone must know their key “needle movers” for the year, quarter, and month, and be delivering results consistently. They get rewards for results and help/coaching when they miss them.

2. Individual Development Plans. Each team member across your company should know their next two possible evolutions (promotions imply a raise/title change, which may not occur)-whether they are up, across, or within. The “within” evolutions are when their current role takes on significant new responsibility or acquires a new skill set. Think of a customer service rep who has now been trained in upselling, down-selling, and cross-selling, and thus can now receive performance bonuses when their new skills are demonstrated. Get a template in our Leadership Kit.

3. Leadership Development Programs. Every team member in your company should have the opportunity to apply for a Leadership Development Program. This program involves intensive, six-month training and coaching, during which the person develops significant new skills and changes previously limiting behaviors. Your next generation of leadership will come from the people who graduate from this program, and everyone who participates needs to “pay it forward” by mentoring a person in your company on enhancing their own leadership.

Don’t let your growth grind to a halt. And don’t tolerate a Crushed Culture (hint: surly employees and inconsistent quality are huge signs).

Both Bob and Sue now have People Plans. Their cultural chaos is a distant memory. Bob’s growth is now at 42 percent annually, while Sue had another year at 100 percent growth, and the focus shifted to cranking up her profit and operational efficiency.

Published on: Apr 7, 2014