Continued Insight on Communicating Targets During the Financial Planning Process

This week we have some continued insight to guide you through the financial planning process for associations, and help improve your skills when communicating targets. 

So What/Do What

Throughout the planning process, do your best to provide some line of sight between the targets being communicated, and the work that people are doing every day. The communication must make it plain to each and every person why they should care, and what, if anything they can do about it.

The Importance

Your communication must answer these questions:

  • Why is it important that we achieve these targets?
  • Will something bad happen if we don’t achieve them?
  • Will something good happen if we do achieve them.
  • How will that affect me personally?

The Accountability

Who is accountable for achieving the targets? Many people may have a responsibility to do their part to reach these targets, however it should be clear who is ultimately on the hook for their failure or success.

The Plan

Most importantly, the communication should tell everyone what plans are in place to address each specific target. Be sure to point out any gaps in the plan, or where future planning will be needed.

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Communicating Targets During the Financial Planning Process

A major component of an association’s financial planning process is target setting. Targets have the ability to inspire an entire organization, and how they are set up can have as much of an impact on people as the targets themselves. Whether or not the targets will be successfully executed depends on how well they are communicated.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when communicating targets:

Clarity

The numbers have to be crystal clear. This is the time to avoid ambiguity or confusion about the workings of an organization. The only thing worse than not communicating targets is communicating targets that confuse the foot soldiers about what is truly important.

Context

The communication of targets (especially the high level, strategic ones) is a relatively top-down exercise. However, staff and managers deserve to understand the context with which the targets were created. People will be more inclined to buy-in and get behind the targets when they understand the thinking behind those targets.

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Consider the Audience

Depending on the audience (highly educated or not, blue collar, white collar, internal or external), and how they are positioned will make a big difference in communicating targets well.  

The Spokesperson

Who the communication comes from tells people a lot about the level of importance to the association. Divisional level targets should be communicated by the head of the division or region, whereas high level, strategic targets should be communicated to the whole organization by the CEO or ED.

Stay tuned for more insight into improving target communication skills.

Start the New Year Right: The Importance of Signing Off

Previously we’ve discussed how keeping progress moving, especially when working with a group, is crucial part of effective leadership. Well 2017 has arrived and with it, the opportunity for association professionals to start the year off on the right foot. A great way to this is by getting sign off’s (whether it is formal or informal), which will ensure everyone is in agreement before you move from one stage to the next.

By knowing where things stand, you have a much better chance of moving to the next stage of the process, rather than people trying to constantly revisit the stage you just finished. Getting a sign off can be as simple as sending an e-mail that says: “I am looking for approval to proceed based on where we are right now, which is…”

If you reach agreement in a meeting, write it on a flip chart, and have everyone grab a marker and sign their name. If there is any hesitation as to the agreement, you will hear about it.

As the person driving the process, you need to consistently test that you still have a strong mandate to move forward, and getting sign off at major process points is absolutely critical.

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