By: Erin Hauswirth
Let’s be honest – if you’ve ever been involved in strategic planning, just hearing the phrase probably makes you inclined to either cringe or shrug; cringe if you know how challenging it is to define and execute a well-documented plan or, shrug because you have a vague idea or have never been involved. Even those that are familiar with the strategic planning process would likely categorize it as a “necessary evil” devised to drive the growth and success of companies. A daunting task, often charged to a select group of experienced individuals; drafted and executed behind closed doors – the results of which often go unbeknownst to a company’s general population.
We hear it’s like that at most companies…but not at INTEC. I bet few seasoned veterans who are intimately involved with this type of planning on a regular basis would venture to describe it as engaging, rewarding or dare I even say, fun! But the INTEC way is this and more; and more importantly it offers every person in the firm the ability to participate and actively be involved in collectively driving the direction of our firm.
The close-hold approach to strategic planning was the way INTEC operated for several years until a cultural shift began to happen in 2014. The simple reasoning was: our people-centric philosophy, “one INTEC,” should be reflected in all aspects of our culture…why not in strategic planning, too? Certainly an unconventional approach but one that began with high expectations. What better way to engage and empower the team, particularly the younger staff, and reinforce the notion that EVERY voice in our firm is important? It wasn’t an easy challenge but when you work with such a passionate group of people that constantly search for ways to push each other, we knew the results would be nothing short of exceptional.
It began with our first all day, off-site gathering to vet and articulate our mission, vision and corporate values; each of which evolved throughout the day with a series of exercises and input from all levels of the staff. Once we redefined the core, fundamental elements by which we would hold our team accountable to moving forward, the next task became defining the major sections to incorporate as part of the development of our new strategic plan – Our Leadership. Our Brand. Our Practice. Our Operations. Our Financial & Performance Management. Our Future.
The entire staff – interns included – were then given the opportunity to participate in a section team. Each team was tasked to generate a list of goals over the course of several months to present to the firm as part of our second annual all-hands, off-site gathering. All I can say is, when challenging an ambitious, highly-motivated group of individuals with an opportunity to do something so unprecedented, it is nothing short of amazing to see the team continuously rise to the challenge!
2015 was about defining our goals and focusing the direction of the firm over the coming years while 2016 has been about making progress with the selected goals we worked so diligently to establish. We ultimately published the five-year plan in a booklet and are so proud of what we achieved, we openly share it with those who are interested in hearing our story.
So here we are in August 2016. We just had our third annual all-hands, off-site gathering which entailed flying in our entire staff to meet at our corporate headquarters in Fairfax, VA. It’s a time to celebrate and share our strategic planning successes over the past year while continuing to look ahead to the future. This year was also about extending our corporate vision of “Enhancing the Human Condition” into our community. As part of the day’s events, we packed backpacks for homeless children on behalf of two life-changing charities – Shelter House and Family PASS. When all was said and done, we each had our own personal take-aways from the presentations and events of the day, but, I think it’s safe to say we all walked away inspired, and recharged to continue the journey!
Looking ahead, 2017 is poised to be an ambitious, yet rewarding year for making further headway in achieving our goals. We will focus on attracting new talent and cultivating the talent we already have; initiate the visual re-branding of our corporate collateral; continue to promote the “INTEC Group” name and increase our presence in the industry as well as our respective markets; further define and enhance internal processes and procedures to strengthen our project delivery; and continue to push ourselves in the realm of technology and be at the forefront of what’s evolving in our industry and throughout the world. And as always, we will continue be ever vigilant in our pursuit of enhancing the human condition for our staff, clients and community.