When I was in college, I was a member of the novice crew team, in a long skinny boat with 7 other women rowing on the Charles River.

The reason that inspirational posters feature a crew boat is that all the “oarsmen” need to row together at the same time towards the same goal. If you do not row with your teammates you either crash your oars or you can actually be thrown out of the boat!

Of course, this is an ideal analogy for employees in a work team, department and company. Your employees need to know where they are rowing and need to row together.

If you ask your employees, do they know how they can contribute to the monthly goal for the company (you do have them, right)?
How clearly do they know what to focus on every day when they report to work?

The solution is three –fold:
1) clearly outline what the organization wants to achieve,
2) break these down to individual responsibilities (and ideally measurable ones), and
3) communicate individual, team, department goals and results to employees on a regular basis

Hopefully your organization has long term goals (3-5 years from now), but these need to be broken down into annual goals, and quarterly action plans.

Quarterly action plans are essential because they list in detail what steps need to be achieved by whom and by when. Then the person accountable has tasks that drive their daily and weekly performance.

For example, your organization has a goal to get 50 new subscribers to sign up for your email newsletter by May 1. The head of marketing might have tasks that include a postcard mailing to current customers by 4/1 and training customer service representatives to ask every customer to subscribe to receive this newsletter. Customer service reps will be accountable (and measured) to achieve newsletter signups for 10% of their phone contacts per month.

Read more from local coach Rick Wallace (Next Level Coaching newsletter): Does your company execute well?

Employees like to feel that what they do contributes to a “greater” whole.

Spend some time and effort explaining the direction of the boat, how they contribute, and be sure to share successes and misses.


Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


Image courtesy of hinnamsaisuy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net