By Dr. Layne J. Harpine
How do you respond to endless streams of requests, offer a variety of high-quality programs in various content areas, provide service on weekends, late nights and holidays and deliver the exact training program to match the needs of an assortment of participants? It doesn’t happen by accident. In order to do this flawlessly, you must have set goals and a well thought out plan.
First, your Contract Training Unit must have a clearly defined mission. What is your purpose? You must then break down the mission into a series of smaller, manageable goals that center on your resolve. Whether you have the responsibility of directing, marketing, or registering, everyone must have a goal. The agreed upon goal must be specific to the outcome, but flexible enough that under changing conditions or circumstances, it can be amended if necessary.
It is also important that everyone has input in the goal-setting process. Supervisors should solicit input for both the overall goals for the Unit and individual goals. This type of inclusion will ensure “buy-in” from each member of your team. You must have a commitment from each team member to reach the full potential of achieving any set objectives. It is the leader’s job to make sure everyone has input during the goal setting process.
Setting both individual and group goals builds a key foundation to the process. The next phase is planning. Everyone needs to start making lists. Planning is the key ingredient for what the organization needs to do in order to stay focused, encouraged, and properly directed to stay on track. Your employees may be remarkable, but don’t depend on their memories; write the action plans down and track them.
When you are developing your plan, answer six simple questions for each specific goal:
- Who is involved in accomplishing the goal?
- What needs to be accomplished to meet the goal?
- When does it need to be accomplished to meet the goal?
- Where am I/we in relationship to accomplishing the goal?
- Why is the goal important to the overall mission?
- How do I establish specific steps to accomplish the goal?
For each of these questions, it is imperative to identify clear involvement, responsibilities, required resources, and necessary activities.
As it is with any planning, you must do your best to be ready to answer the “what if” questions. Be ready to anticipate the unexpected by being prepared. But, what if our allocated operating budget is cut even more next year? What if we can’t find the expertise to provide the contracted training content? What if we are not able to pull the required data and reports to conduct the necessary analysis?
It is not possible to predict all the things that could pop up to derail your planning. However, if you combine some pre-thought along with some clear communication, you may be able to enhance your readiness to face any obstacles that may arise along the way.