2023 Planning Step 3 – Dive into your Departments

We know you are probably about to close shop for the holidays – BUT WAIT! Save this link and come back to read it when you have some downtime over the next few days.

In our last post, we covered setting goals and creating an action plan for your entire company. However, the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts. If you’ve meticulously installed the Christmas lights on the house but the switch in the basement is turned off, you’ve done a lot of work for nothing. (If you don’t understand my illustration, be sure to rewatch this classic scene from “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation”).

Today we discuss the next step: setting department goals.

Once the overall goals and top-level plans are determined, the next step is to do the same process with the individual divisions and departments.

Firefighting is exhausting and creates chaos.

Goal setting minimizes chaos because everyone is prepared.


Each leader now meets with their team to develop specific departmental goals and plans that align with the company’s overall goals.

  1. Begin the discussion. Start with opportunities, challenges, and issues that they see need to be addressed. Listen to your team! Be open to their ideas. Brainstorm with them. You will be surprised at the insight and wisdom that they bring to the table. After all, they are the ones in the trenches.
  2. Turn the issue into a goal to be resolved. Like the overall goals, these should be few in number and be meaningful and relevant for their division or department. They must be written and agreed upon by the people responsible for making them happen.
  3. S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Specific, measurable, achievable, attainable, time-bound) will help your team stay focused and aligned with your overall mission.
  4. Create action steps that each individual must take to resolve the issue. Document these steps under each goal using the following outline.
    1. What is the Issue/Goal:
      1. Who is in charge of getting it done?
      2. What is the date it is due?
      3. What action steps are required?
  5. Insist on accountability to get it done!

Picture your employees as a string of Christmas lights, each with its own plug contributing to the glory of lighting up an entire neighborhood block. Involving individuals gives them ownership of their part in the overall success of the company.

Everyone wants to know their opinion and their effort makes a real difference!

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