The Strategic Roadmap - Individual Actions

November 06, 2018

In this episode of “Generations in Family Business: Past, Present and Future”, Matt Kerzner and Tim Schuster discuss the importance of Individual Actions on a business and how this important to the success of a company, we also summarize the Strategic Roadmap Process.


Tim Schuster: Welcome to our podcast for Generations in Family, Business, Past, Present and Future. The hosts for this podcast are myself, Tim Schuster, and I'm a manager in the Center for Family Business Excellence and also with us today ...
Matt Kerzner:Hi, I'm Matt Kerzner and I'm a senior manager for the Center for Family Business Excellence.

TS: To continue our conversation, a major philosophy of the Center is our strategic roadmap, where Matt and I have been taking each step of the roadmap and breaking it down for our listeners. During our last podcast we discussed initiatives and projects, when looking at current and future states, what are some of the thoughts that companies should consider? So in this episode we're going to discuss individual actions or what our game plan is as a company. Matt and nearing the end of our strategic roadmap podcasts here. Let's start with what do I need to do as an individual and breaking everything down and putting it altogether.
MK:When we talked about the goals and objectives of the company in the past, we talked about having five to seven major goals that the organization should be working on. Then we broke it down into what the game plan is and the three pillars: business development, operating efficiency and people. Then as we talked about what are the major initiatives and projects that come out of that, now it gets into the accountability of the individual working for a department and cascading up to a larger division or even the company and how it all flows together. So really when it comes to individual actions, it is what I need to do and what am I going to be accountable for, and these should be linking to the overall goals of a department in the organization.
TS: That makes sense. It’s where everyone's fitting in with the whole organization. So what exactly can an individual be accountable for?
MK:It's mutually agreed upon between the employee, the individual and the supervisor, manager or department head. It's agreed upon by the principal or partner and then it’s put in that smart model: specific measurable, achievable, relevant. They all have a timeframe, and there's a discussion to make sure that it's linked to the overall organization so everybody's rowing in the same direction. Then it's how do we set a formal and informal process to do some check ins? This is to actually see how things are going. I like to say that formally there should be a performance review process that's done once a year at a minimum. The informal process is that a manager and the employee should get together at least quarterly and just do a pulse check of how they're doing, their goals and how it's impacting the department.
TS: I'm going to tell a quick story about that because I think this is interesting. At my desk currently I have a $2 bill. So people come by my office and they ask why a $2 bill is here. What is that supposed to signify? So when that was handed to me, it was actually a very important concept that I thought was very useful, and the idea is that feedback is a two-way street. So I keep that $2 bill on my desk because it's important that not only am I asking for feedback, but conversely I go and ask my staff on what feedback they have for me. How can I improve myself as your manager? That's why I have something to visualize things that listeners can maybe also do. But I always have that $2 bill at my desk just to remind myself.
MK:I think that's great. I with individuals, managers and leaders and do some coaching who really should be managing this process. I get into an exercise called keep doing, start doing and stop doing it—and we'll talk about that in depth at a later podcast. But really for the informal discussion, whatever goals you're working on, it's really, okay, how are you doing? What should you keep doing that's helping you reach your goal? What should you stop doing that's getting in your way, and what should you start doing that you need to help get there? So it's a good exercise. So even with the $2 bill, you might want to also think about your goals and then do KSS, so you always are thinking about keep doing, start doing and stop doing.
TS: That makes a lot of sense.
MK:So the informal process, if you have a cup of coffee with your manager, you really can just have a nice conversation of KSS.
TS: We were discussing expectations. Why is it important to set an expectation?
MK:That's a great question. So when you set an expectation, it's almost like what I call a psychological contract between the manager and the employee. Tim you know I report to you and you set the expectation, first of all, I can ask questions about if this is relevant to the overall department and my growth. And once I get the agreement and understanding of that and we have that dialogue, then it gets memorialized on paper. Now I understand how I should be working toward that goal. So when you're setting that expectation, you want to ask clarifying questions to make sure you're both looking at the same kind of goal. And then once you have that, the expectation is that my supervisor will be monitoring me and providing me some coaching on things that I'm doing really well, things that I should keep doing and things that I can improve on, or how get to where I want to go—the future state without removing any accountability that I have to get the job done.
TS: That makes sense, right? We want to make sure that you're on the track, just keeping an expectation there so that if for some reason you aren't going off the rails at some point, you can just fix that as quickly as possible.
MK:Something very important that I want the listeners to hear is if you are an individual contributor and you're reporting to a manager, the manager owns setting the expectation with you, but if you're not getting that informal feedback once a quarter, then manage up to your manager and supervisor, get on his or her calendar, and say, “I would like to have a cup of coffee to talk about my performance.”
TS: Absolutely. Think of the $2 bill, KSS.
MK:Perfect, Tim, I love that visual. I have to find a $2 bill and I might actually put that on my desk, so that's really the individual actions. We're all held accountable to contribute, and we need to know that our managers, our supervisors are checking in.
TS: I think that makes sense. So Matt let's tie this together. What is our major takeaway from the strategic roadmap and why is this process important for business?
MK:I think it's very critical because from the beginning of when we got into the mission and core values and vision, once you set that high level, that 80,000-foot view, and I don't want to just make it sound like it's way up in the clouds because it takes a lot of work and a lot of getting in the weeds to get to those things. I don't want to make it sound like it's an easy process, but once you do that and then you start getting into, okay, how do we get there? if this is a three year plan, then how do we get there in year one, what is year two look like? What does year three look like? And that's where the objectives and goals come in and realistically putting them in year one, year, two years, three to keep everybody moving and then really developing that communication plan around that. Get everybody buy in, how are we know what the score is, how we're doing. That's like the whole strategies and measures. We get the foundation of those three silos,. I don't like the word silo, but three buckets. Business Development, operating efficiency and people. I think that covers a big part of an organization. Any organization, but there could be more, And then it breaks it down to, okay, what out of these three major buckets, what are the initiatives and projects towards the overall goal and then how as an individual, I work towards that. So to really bring it all together, all these pieces of the strategic roadmap can really one, get employees engaged two really set the tone within the organization so everybody's growing in the same direction and it now drives that once a quarter informal discussion about how are we doing growing the business, how are we doing things better, faster with quality operating efficiency? And always thinking about talent and people and getting our bench ready for whatever comes our way.
TS: Exactly. It was all transparency. People working together. I think that's fantastic. And this is an area that the Center of Family Business. Excellence really masters in. So if there's anything that our listeners need help with this and they can reach out to anyone of we at any time and we can help them set up this whole process. But I honestly just want to thank you all for listening to this series of podcasts. We're going to have another series coming out relatively soon. Thank you for listening to Generations and Family Business Past, Present, and Future as part of the EisnerAmper podcast series. It'd be have any questions or there's a topic you'd like us to cover. Email us at Visit for more information on this and a host of other topics we look forward to having you listen in on our next EisnerAmper podcast.

About Matthew Kerzner

Matthew Kerzner is a Managing Director in the Center for Individual and Organizational Performance and the Center for Family Business Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development with a specialization in assisting family businesses and closely held businesses.

About Tim Schuster

Mr. Schuster is a Senior Manager providing tax compliance services to individual filers, as well as assistance on tax returns for companies in the manufacturing and real estate industries.

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