Why tighten our belt again in 2016?

I don't buy inQ:  More “belt tightening” is ahead for 2016 and I don’t buy it. How do I tell my team without damaging morale?

A:  To have credibility with your team you have to “buy in” to the strategy.   You can’t sell something you don’t believe in; don’t even think about faking it—your team is skillful at detecting horse pooey.  Start by asking questions:

  • What exactly did your senior management communicate?  Note:  “Belt tightening” is not a strategy and it is not measurable.
  • Are the cuts across the board or isolated? Are there plans to spin off of a division/product line?  Note:  Be clear about the financial impact on your specific area of the business?
  • How does the 2016 launch message compare with that of 2015?  A continuation?  Dramatic/disruptive change? Iterative?

Regarding your team,

  • Why is their morale likely to be impacted by the 2016 strategy?  Cut back in resources? Belt tighteningLay-offs? Group being layered?
  • How do you bring your team into the 2016 planning process?
  • What are your expectations for the team?  Goals? Roles? Results?

Remember that your role as a manager is to keep your team in the loop—no surprises—and to ensure that they have the information or are empowered to get the answers that help them feel like they own the business.  Make certain that you always have the information and/or access to senior management to “buy in” to the future of your firm.

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