Achieving results requires building a certain level of trust with those you lead. Trust is created when leaders consistently share the direction of the organization. Leaders cannot effectively do so without first collecting data to develop action plans.
Why Action Planning?
Action plans provide the structure for identifying priorities to improve, specific times for completion, and those responsible. When leaders communicate these action plans, employees take ownership and become more invested in the work they do.
Manor Independent School District (MISD), located in Manor, TX, has been successful in their first year using this process. We believe this is due to the organization’s “go slow to go fast” approach—an approach that takes the time needed to collect data, rollout the data, and make sure each individual employee understands what the data implies. As a result, MISD has seamlessly been able to build effective action plans and improve their employee engagement. Here is what this process looked like:
In the spring of 2017, MISD began with employee engagement surveys, along with other stakeholder surveys. The purpose was two-fold: gathering baseline data to inform the development of the new strategic plan and creating a focus for leaders as they entered their first year of implementation in 2017 and 2018.
During the summer, 90 MISD leaders attended a day-long retreat to learn about the results rollout process, participate in a mock rollout, and receive (and digest) their first set of employee engagement survey results.
Superintendent of MISD, Dr. Royce Avery, explains what this retreat looked like and how staying focused was key to their success:
We set aside a full day so leaders could really dig in and engage with their data from the spring surveys. That set us up for success as leaders rolled out their results to employees and helped put the focus on the importance of the strategic plan.
Once the new school year began, leaders participated in a Leadership Development Institute (LDI) to begin to develop action plans for increasing employee engagement based on feedback from their recent rollout meetings. Additionally, 30-day “check in” meetings with new employees were a focused strategy for employee engagement with newly hired employees.
Our action plans are helping to set us up for long-term success. While we know we’ll always face challenges down the road, our action plans will help keep us focused and on task for what really matters.
Scott Thomas, Director of Communications at MISD, shares his thoughts on the implementation of action plans in the district:
I think that with any plan, you will encounter a few challenges. However, the strategic framework allows us to adapt and grow with those challenges. I would say our plans are looking really good for both the organization as a whole and the specific campuses to turn our goals into reality.
When using action plans to increase employee engagement at your organization, it is important to reflect on what we have learned from MISD. We believe the lesson MISD is teaching us is that going slow to go fast means being strategic in your approach and making one adjustment at a time to get closer to organizational excellence.
How will you be strategic in ensuring your leadership team effectively creates action plans to improve employee engagement?