In times of uncertainty, employers have a responsibility to reassure their employees and stakeholders. But as many businesses have experienced, a consequence of the crisis has been that well-scrutinised, long-term business plans have become obsolete, failing to address the unique set of issues the pandemic has caused.
We managed to tide through the pandemic is our Big Picture, Priorities and Measures (BPM) framework, developed in-house by our team. BPMs provide leaders with a tool that simultaneously sets a long term five-year vision with as well as lays out measurable milestones to guide a team on how they will approach achieving that vision over the next 12-18 months.
We have a corporate BPM which informs each functional department’s BPM which then informs each individual employee’s BPM. Unlike a stock-standard, long-term business plan solely focused on financial gain, a BPM helps businesses draw clarity from ambiguity. For many organisations, it is the perfect tool to help guide the executive team through the COVID-19 crisis.
At a smaller scale, BPMs provide a number of useful features to help small-business owners provide direction for their employees and business to navigate through a crisis.
Define your Big Picture
Kick off your BPM with the Big Picture. These are a series of three to four statements, which help to clearly define your desired outcomes over the next three to five years. When thinking about your Big Picture, ensure that it’s sourced democratically and not dictated solely by the leadership team. Your Big Picture should focus on the actions that need to be taken to achieve the desired outcome. It’s crucial to not lose sight of the timeframe in favour of a broader long-term goal. For example, it may be useful to develop a BPM to respond to the current pandemic.
Draft your priorities
Your business’ priorities will sit directly under your Big Picture, creating a map of how you will achieve your Big Picture outcomes. Some guiding principles to help you in developing your priorities include:
- Asking yourself “what” and “why” questions to help guide your priorities.
- Lead with a verb.
Once you’re ready, start creating a list of three to four key priorities you’d need to accomplish to achieve your Big Picture, remembering to keep them focused and achievable. Finalise this step by ordering your priorities from most to least important.
Outline your measures
Your measures will outline the metrics you will use to know if you are on track with your priorities. Referring back to the ‘employee trust and welfare’ priority, a measure may be to poll employees and expect to maintain the same employee engagement score as you logged before the pandemic. Choose two to three measures for each priority and aim to achieve 70 per cent of those measures as a benchmark.
Reconcile your BPM
Discuss the BPM with stakeholders across the company and be ready to rework, reframe, reshape it once you’ve consulted different departments.
In addition to key stakeholders, the current pandemic has seen sudden shifts in legislation, customer behaviour and demand for various products and services. With this in mind, it’s important to be nimble in your approach to developing and implementing a BPM strategy. Ensure that you instil – in yourself and your business – the gift of flexibility and be ready to rework, reframe, reshape or completely start over again with your BPM strategy.
While the current economic climate is certainly challenging for small business, a well-considered BPM will equip your business with a values-driven framework to help guide your short to medium-term business plan, inspiring commitment to implement real actions that will help you achieve your overall objectives and weather the storms of the new reality we’re all facing.
Kristen Pimpini, Country Director – Australia & New Zealand, Twilio