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What the Heck is a Departmental Plan?

Written by Mike Paton on May 17, 2018

EOS Leadership Team Strategic Planning Tools EOS Vision/Traction Organizer

When helping an entrepreneurial leadership team clarify, simplify, and achieve its Vision, we use a tool called the V/TO™ (Vision/Traction Organizer™). This EOS Foundational Tool™ contains eight questions, and our job as EOS Implementers™ is to get every member of the leadership team to agree on every word of the answers to each of those questions.

When there’s weakness in the Vision component of your organization, it’s not that there’s no Vision. Often there’s too much Vision – you don’t all agree.

millennials-love-eosEach leader has a slightly different view of where you’re going, how you plan to get there, what’s most important right now, and who’s going to do what.

That’s why the V/TO is so important – because until your leadership team is 100% on the same page with the company’s Vision, it’s impossible to get the rest of your team members to see, understand, and truly want to help you achieve it. So, once all of your leaders agree, you’ll use the V/TO to get your Vision “shared by all.”

Vision Shared By All

There are two disciplines or tools we teach to help make sure your vision is shared by all:

Discipline #1: State of the Company – The first discipline is a quarterly State of the Company message, where you actually share your Vision and Plan with every single person in your company. The simple fact is, you can’t get people to share your Vision unless you tell them what your Vision is. Because most of us employ humans, and humans need to hear things seven times to hear and understand them for the first time, we need to do it over and over again – every word, every quarter.

Discipline #2: Departmental Plan – At a company’s first two-day Annual, we ask leaders to consider using another tool or discipline – a Departmental Planto strengthen the company’s Vision component. Once the V/TO is complete and the leadership team is on the same page, we suggest that each member of the leadership team use the Traction® page (page 2) of a blank V/TO template to clearly define a 1-Year Plan, Quarterly measurables and Rocks, and a long-term Issues List for their departments. In other words, a “Departmental Plan.”

This powerful approach pays three important dividends:

  1. It drives ownership of and accountability for achieving the company’s Vision to the next level(s) of the organization. Once the company’s Vision and Plan are clear, each leader and team must crystallize the numbers, Goals and Rocks that will ensure the company hits its measurables and completes its Goals and Rocks.
  2. It creates a common language and set of tools for the entire organization. People at all levels of the organization become more familiar with key EOS® concepts and tools, like the V/TO, a 1-Year Plan, quarterly Rocks, and compartmentalizing Issues.
  3. It helps each team execute better on its own priorities. The Traction page of a V/TO defines success for this year and this quarter. It forces the establishment of 3 – 7 priorities each year and each quarter. It keeps teams and team members focused on and accountable for hitting the department’s measurables and completing the team’s priorities.

So, if you want to get your Vision shared by all, roll the EOS Tools out to your entire organization, and drive accountability for executing your Plan and achieving your Vision to every member of your team. Consider using Departmental Plans at the next level of your organization. Ultimately, you’ll get to the point where each team has its own Departmental Plan, everyone is crystal clear on the company’s Vision and is working to gain Traction – by hitting numbers, completing Goals and Rocks, and solving Issues.

As we say often, Vision without Traction is hallucination. And the more people who share your Vision, want to help you achieve it, and know exactly what success looks like – the more likely your company is to achieve that Vision.

Next Steps

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