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on January 30, 2018 Future of work

How to Incorporate Innovative Strategies Into Your Annual Plan

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January is almost over.

You’re probably already exhausted all of your personal and business New Year’s Resolution options, but, perhaps there is still some time left to go before you seal the deal on your annual plan.

Now, the new year is a great opportunity to take on a fresh perspective that can really upgrade your business success. And although planning might seem “boring” or “too structured” for some, it doesn’t have to be that way. It can even be fun (and innovative!)

Here at backstitch, our team worked together to set our shared a BHAGs — a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.

The point of such lofty goals is to empower the whole team around a shared vision, leaving enough room in the plan for creativity and inspiration to occur.

But if your firm’s goals and plans are too rigid and uncompromising, you might not be prepared for the unexpected. (And trust us — the unexpected will happen. You’ll want your team to be agile when it does.)

The workplace is changing quickly and dramatically. Culture shifts, digitization, automation and other trends are being dubbed “the future of work.” To be a leader in the future, you’ll have to think like a visionary — not like a robot. 🤖

But, it is also just as important to set up measurable, specific goals to keep your team grounded in reality. We suggest including a mix of audacious goals with reasonable ones in your plan.

Here are some ways your firm can incorporate innovation within your annual plan — without compromising practicality.

Set clear priorities

Organizations that are aware of its top priorities have an easier time adapting to the changes happening within their industry.

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Rather than sticking to a rigid, detailed framework, a focus on priorities leads to a more agile approach. Those of you trying to stick to a concrete plan might be in for a rude awakening when a problem arises that cannot be found anywhere in the plan.

As the status quo continues to change and more unexpected problems, competitors and customer behavior starts to pop up, it is extremely helpful for a company to have a priority that they can apply to any and every situation.

For example, maybe you’re in the construction industry. The way we live, work and shop might change. Perhaps people are building less brick and mortar shops and homes, but more people want to live in apartment complexes in the city. No matter what, your priority might always be to build a safe and secure foundation for all aspects of people’s lives.

The world will always change, but your company priority is there to stay.

Rethink past strategies

Take a look back at your past annual plans and strategies. Be honest — what’s working and what isn’t?

A lot of times, companies have a tendency to go with what feels comfortable and what has become a habit.

But, just because something has worked in the past does not mean that the past is going to repeat itself. If you want to attract new customers and partners — particularly those who represent newer generations — you’ll need to upgrade your perspective.

To stay successful, a company needs to deliver on its promises and prove its worth each and every day. Audit your past decisions and ask yourself — does this still make sense in today’s world?

This advice may seem simple or too obvious, but humans are habitual creatures and this happens to the best of us. Remember to take a deeper look at your habits and decide whether or not they are still serving you.

Invest in technology solutions

It’s no secret that technology is disrupting every industry.

While some respond to that fact with the fear that robots might take your job, here’s another way to respond: use automation to make processes run smoother, (while us humans can focus on more important things.)

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If you work for a corporate organization that has been doing business for years, chances are there are some processes that could be refurbished, thanks to new technology.

Instead of making your employees churn out meaningless, monotonous tasks — which leads to employee disengagement — consider investing in a software solution that will make jobs easier.

For example, here at backstitch we offer technology solutions for benefits, human resources and communications departments — making their lives easier, so they can do their jobs better.

This year, decide to make room in your budget for purchasing one (or two) cutting-edge, technology services. Not only is this efficient, it can boost employee morale, engagement, and overall innovation.

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