The focus in this article is on the service departments of organizations – IT, HR, Legal, Finance. A seldom discussed key for a sustainable innovative company is that these service departments are innovative.
Last Fall hundreds of thousands of dollars of time were invested in meetings about the annual plan and budget. There were also late nights to produce a plan, budget, and goals, PowerPoint slides and tight deadlines. The service functions are always last in the sequence because they are reacting to operational plans.
Sometimes I think the holiday season is necessary just so we can rest after this herculean effort.
What do we do with all that planning and information?
The tough part of being a service arm for the business is to be dependent on the planning of the operational departments. You’re in reaction mode. It’s hard to plan until you see what the requirements are from those you support.
Before the Fall
One of the things we implement with The New Leadership Normal is to get the service arms more involved in the planning the operations teams do, all the way back to the dreaming stage. We can always get better at this. There are a number of conscious processes to implement to accomplish this. Let us know if you’d like to discuss how to do this.
What do we do now?
Let’s assume we are in the typical reactionary mode. The plans have been established. We’ve done the best we could to put our plans together. Now it’s January/February. How do we bring innovation to the organization?
- Analyze the operational plans and aspirations. Slog through the presentations with an eye toward opportunity. How can your function help realize the goals and aspirations of the business units?
- Share the plans. It’s important to design the planning presentations in the Fall for wide distribution. Keeping these plans in a proverbial notebook doesn’t help anyone. As low a level as these plans can be analyzed, the better chance for innovative approaches to help accomplish them.
- Make plan review an innovation initiative. Use the plans in your support department’s innovation process. Don’t have an innovation process? – give us a call.
- Partner with the business unit. Participate with the business unit to help them reach their goals. If this isn’t common, start building coalitions.