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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.