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Getting Ready for the ‘Planning Season’ – Part 2 (Your Team)

Welcome to “Getting Ready for the Planning Season – Part 2” (Your Team).

Part 1 – creatively titled “Getting Ready for the Planning Season – Part 1” – discussed that for many organisations, the annual cycle of planning and strategy formulation is uppermost in their minds in an endeavour to set themselves up for the coming year. However, traditional strategic planning (and the yearly round of off-sites) often fails to deliver intended objectives.

Here are the five ‘antidotes’ we discussed in Part 1

  1. Create a ‘Collective Ambition’
  2. Make the process robust
  3. Make it agile
  4. Be real
  5. Balance performance and health

The article also provided an overview of the concept of organisational ‘health’ or what McKinsey have defined as “the ability of an organisation to align, execute and renew itself faster than the competition so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time.”

The concept applies equally to teams, and in fact it could be argued that without healthy teams (particularly senior teams) the chances of your organisation being healthy are slim.

A Way to Help Create Success

In our work with various senior teams over a twenty-year period we have seen a lot of things that work and DON’T work!

Based on evidenced-based principles and our own experience in working across many industries, we have formulated a framework to help your team focus on the things that matter – the things that will help you engage in the strategy planning process in a fruitful way. By focusing on the key elements of the canvass, you will also give yourself the best chance of implementing the strategy and creating a sustainable and high performing organisation or unit.

Team Charter Canvass

Creating a high performing organisation starts with creating a high performing senior team that knows where it’s heading, how to get there, and importantly, who they are as a team.

Our Team Charter Canvas (TCC) helps guide senior teams to do just that. The framework helps ensure that teams engage in crucial conversations that will lead to long-term success, starting first with clarity about the organisational vision and purpose.

               Figure 1: Team Charter Canvass

TCC-Sept-2016 Getting Ready for the 'Planning Season' - Part 2 (Your Team)


Those familiar with Simon Sinek’s work will be familiar with his tenet of starting with why may recognise the flow. Row 1 describes the WHY first, Row 2 the HOW and finally Row 3 is all about the WHAT.

This is in contrast to many planning processes that rush to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and don’t do justice to the ‘why’.  I have yet to meet a team that is sufficiently clear about all nine areas of the canvass and the detail that sits behind each. This can have serious consequences on achieving short and long-term objectives.

“I have yet to meet a team that is sufficiently clear about all nine areas of the canvass and the detail that sits behind each.”

bigstock-Management-solutions-58090499-300x300 Getting Ready for the 'Planning Season' - Part 2 (Your Team)

Management solutions closing the gap to a business challenge as a businessman lifting a three dimensional cube to complete a wall with a group of organized objects as a project metaphor for leadership expertise.

This simplified version (the full version has some key diagnostic questions in each square) is linear and prescriptive in that a team should start with box 1 then move to box 2 then 3, etc (of course you may need to circle back to earlier boxes as you progress).

Any planning process needs to be firmly linked to the organisation’s vision and reason for being. The ‘how’ helps teams examine their operating rhythm, their values and how they will celebrate and recognise achievements while enjoying the journey along the way. And finally the ‘what’ helps the team achieve laser-like focus on what needs to be achieved and by when, including the current shape of the team (strengths to be leveraged and weaknesses to mitigated).

How Do I Use the Canvass?

There are many ways to leverage the power of the framework, however all methods should lead to the same outcome – creating a robust dialogue that creates new learning and new possibilities.

At a more practical level, here are some tips:

  1. Ask each team member to rate each box between 1 (Poor) and 10 (Excellent) live, calculate the average score and then focus on the three lowest rated boxes.
  2. Using the same rating system as above, conduct a confidential survey before the session.
  3. Start at box 1 and gain agreement on what it is, then move to box 2, then box 3, etc.
  4. Don’t skip any boxes because you think you have them nailed without an explicit agreement on what it actually means (assumptions are like termites in your strategy).
  5. Invite key stakeholders and even customers to enter in to some ‘box conversations’.
  6. Pressure-test your outputs with people who matter (i.e. people you need to be successful).

In order to have the type of robust, honest conversations needed, you will need to work on creating high levels of psychological safety.

Last November, Google published the five traits of its most successful teams – the first and most important was psychological safety, which has been described as a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’  Psychological safety is a necessary pre-condition for meaningful planning.

Implementation is the Achilles Heel

We know that around 80% of change fails and that globally a high percentage of Chief Executives are dissatisfied with their strategies and the results they create.

While it is relatively easy to produce a beautiful looking strategy document, it is how those ideas are realised that makes the difference. By default, ‘implementation’ means that change will be necessary (unless you have a no-change strategy that has already been implemented in which case you should be updating your strategy!).

Implementation and change leadership is out of scope for this article, however it needs serious attention as part of the overall planning and strategy process. This is where the real work begins.

Find out More

We are specialists in working with senior teams to bring the Team Charter Canvass to life. We do this through working with leaders and teams to create high performing and healthy teams and organisations.

If you’re interested in learning more about these programs and how we may be able to work with you to achieve outstanding results, then you can:


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