Improve your strategy success rate with a premortem analysis

April 26, 2023

It’s the end of an era: Bed Bath & Beyond is officially calling it quits. No more need for those 20%-off blue-and-white coupons — especially since their store closing sales are about to offer some serious discounts.

Hot off the SMB press this week: 

  • Start documenting your roles and responsibilities with this template.
  • A unique analysis that will improve your strategic planning efforts.
  • How office tech is stumping the “tech-savvy” Gen Z.


Template of the week: Operations Manager Role

You may get tired of hearing it, but we’ll never get tired of saying it: Documentation is crucial for the continued success and sustainable growth of your business. But while you may immediately assume we’re going to jump into a spiel about documenting your processes and policies, allow us to surprise you — today, we’re talking about roles and responsibilities.

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities are a must have for any growing business. Why? Because when you document them, team alignment and collaboration simply fall into place. There are no more questions of who’s responsible for what, and you set clear expectations of what’s required from the different members of your team.

In other words, if you want to increase your productivity and save time and money, it’s time to start documenting your roles and responsibilities.

👉 And who better to document first than the person in charge of developing strategies for improving efficiency and productivity across your business: the operations manager. This role template provides a sample list of common responsibilities — easily customizable to reflect your business’ unique needs. 

Just head to the Roles page in your Trainual account to build out your operations manager role. Then you can easily assign training to anyone with that role and give your whole team visibility into what that person is in charge of. New to Trainual? Try for free.

Can’t wait a whole week for your next template? Check out our entire template archive of free, multimedia-enhanced, and customizable policy, process, and role starters.


Premortem analysis, the way to improve strategic planning

Strategic planning? In April? 
You might think of strategic planning as an annual occasion that happens in December or January — but when you’re a small business in a rapidly changing industry, you need to react and make pivots more than just once a year. 

And think about how often your plans happen exactly as you imagined. Unless you can see the future, your success rate probably isn’t that high — estimates show that strategic planning only goes as planned 10 to 30 percent of the time. 

And that’s because it’s notoriously tough.
When it comes to planning for the future of your business, biases tend to get in the way. And when it comes to affecting your strategic planning, no bias is more guilty than “planning fallacy.” In other words, the tendency to underestimate the time and budget needed to get stuff done — which can lead to impossible timelines, a lack of proper resources, and an absence of backup plans.

A woman yelling, "Five minute warning!"

But here’s how to beat the bias:
You and your team may be familiar with the postmortem analysis — AKA, that period after a strategy has failed when you try to figure out why. We’re suggesting changing up the sequence of events: To prevent your strategy from failing, conduct your analysis before you make any decisions.

That way, you can look at a strategy’s prospective flaws with hindsight, giving you a better understanding of where your strategy could go wrong — along with the opportunity to make it better. Thus becoming a premortem analysis.

Want to try this with your team? There are ten steps to follow:

  1. Gather a diverse team for more unique perspectives during the analysis.
  2. Set the objective of your meeting: Identifying the potential risks and roadblocks for your potential plan.
  3. Ask the (hypothetical) main question: “This project went catastrophically wrong. What happened?
  4. Have each team member write down their predictions for the strategy’s failure.
  5. Starting with the most junior member of the team, share your reasons.
  6. Make this meeting an open dialogue — it will allow your team to perform a deeper analysis and get further understanding on the reasons for the potential failure.

👉 Read more for steps 7-10.


Why every generation needs tech training (even Gen Z)

Wait… aren’t Gen Zers supposed to be tech geniuses?
Aha — gotcha! While boomers may appear to get the brunt of tech-related age discrimination in the workplace, there are biases for a wider range of generations when it comes to tech-shaming.

Gen Z is stereotyped as the generation in kahoots with all things technology — after all, most of them probably started using phones before they could even walk. But, newsflash: Being a youngin doesn’t make you an expert, just like being older doesn’t make you technologically impaired.

Here’s the problem: Companies often assume that their youngest employees can naturally navigate every piece of tech in the office. And when they can’t, they’re left feeling like a disappointment to their manager and peers.

A man gestures at his computer with confusion.

Now that you mention it, I might be guilty of putting unrealistic expectations on my Gen Z employees.
Your next step is making your small business a little more tech-friendly for every skill level on your team. Here’s how:

  • Help everyone learn. One thing’s for sure: It’s important to train all of your employees on how to properly use your techy tools — no matter how experienced (or inexperienced) they may seem with electronics. So, you’ll want to create an online training for each tool you use. That way, your employees can go back and reference the material if they get stuck trying to figure things out on the spot. (🔥 Tip: Want to document how to use online tools — like your billing, payment, or benefits platforms — in just a few clicks? Download the Trainual Capture Chrome extension that documents complete online processes while you do them. Even better: Each capture comes complete with step-by-step instructions and screenshots that anyone could follow.)
  • Don’t be techier-than-thou. Just because you got the hang of it doesn’t mean it’s straightforward for everyone else. So, be sure you’re not accidentally belittling employees who can’t get it right the first try (even jokes can hit hard sometimes). If your team feels ashamed for not understanding the how-tos, they won’t speak up when they need help and will stay perpetually confused.

👉 More tips for a tech-friendly workplace.


This week's highlight reel

  • We’re on a role. More Trainual AI is here! And this time, it’s building your entire company role chart for you — in just one click. What’s a role chart, you ask? It’s like an org chart, but it maps out reporting structure by role, showing who does what across your business (no matter how many hats everyone wears). Need a Trainual account? Try for free.
  • SMB-yoncé. The queen B herself has committed $1M in grants and other support services to help entrepreneurs and small business owners facing financial hardships due to economic challenges. Her BeyGood foundation is working with 10+ cities around the globe — find out if yours is one of them
  • Buh-bye, high fly. New reports are saying business travel may not return to its pre-pandemic rates (like, ever). In fact, many companies are changing their travel policies, cutting back on all types of travel-related spending. The number one reason: Aggravatingly high (and only growing) costs of airfares and room rates.… booking.nope. 
  • PT-woah. The worst part of taking time off: The pile of work you return to. NerdWallet’s solution: Shutting down the whole company for mandatory self-care days. And they’re just one of the many companies trying to meet employees’ increasing expectations of mental health support in the workplace. Wanna get in on the action? Check out our CEO Chris Ronzio’s playbook for work-life balance.

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of your small business