Every leader has a vision for what they want their company to accomplish in a given year. You may want to launch a new product, rebrand to suit a changing audience, or simply boost revenue after a tough year. These kinds of high-level goals are usually set at the beginning of the year, along with smaller supporting objectives that need to be met each quarter. As tidy as this process sounds, even the best-laid plans can fall victim to poor oversight.
Without good communication among leaders and employees, a big project can stray from its intended purpose, or fall apart entirely, in the span of just a quarter. You can't control every situation, but you can standardize information sharing to ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page about the state of the project. These habits will help you keep your large-scale endeavors on track for success.
If you haven't heard it yet, take note now: some of the most valuable meetings that you and your managers will hold are the ones you have every week with your immediate team members. Though weekly check-ins may seem repetitive or uneventful at first glance, keep in mind that uneventful (except for good surprises) is your best-case scenario. Weekly meetings are a chance for employees to talk about their current challenges, which often have to do with projects that take time to complete. By having frequent, structured conversations about project-related tasks, you sidestep the possibility that an employee won't tell you what's troubling them until they're up against a deadline or the problem has grown too large for them to handle alone.
Do you know each of your teams' most pervasive challenges? If not, you could be missing out on information that can make or break big projects. Maybe you want to make your website more user-friendly, but the website is a group effort and no one is sure which department owns it. Maybe you're promoting a new product, but the product's designer keeps pushing back deadlines due to design challenges she is silently struggling with. Leaders need to be proactive about solving the general problems that plague organizations if they hope to see success with big projects. At Greenleaf, we take a yearly survey of our employees' stupidest (inefficient, redundant) and hardest (complex, daunting) tasks. Managers collect the responses and bring them to the C-suite, and from there we take time each month to brainstorm and implement solutions that work for our team members.
At least once a year, gather feedback from your team about the most troubling outdated technology, cross-departmental conflicts, or bad processes that hold up projects. Make those issues high-priority for your managers, and check in on a monthly basis to create an expected level of accountability with a connected action plan and timeline.
Flexibility and Innovation
More likely than not, one of your major projects for the year will fall behind schedule or face an unexpected roadblock. Maybe the budget had to be tightened at a moment's notice, or the employee championing the project quit unexpectedly. Whatever the reason, don't abandon ship. Be ready to pivot.
When project-stopping issues arise, call together all of the parties involved and brainstorm a new solution the problem you were trying to solve in the first place. Work towards activating a new plan by the end of the current quarter, and update action plans for the rest of the year.
Large scale, big-picture initiatives can go south in a flash without proper management. Set up consistent check-ins with your team members and be prepared to quickly adapt to challenges in order to see your visions come to fruition.