Business Planning Problem

Slow progress overall (growth)

Random acts of growth don’t work nearly as well as carefully crafted and executed growth plans. Planning means living with intent, mapping out where you want to go and how you’ll get there. Thinking it all through in advance and then having a road map leads to smarter and more effective implementation down the road.

We all know that we should be planning but we don’t because we don’t appreciate how powerful planning is. Yes it takes time at the front end to build the first plan but after that it’s a matter of tracking progress, holding each other accountable and making mid course corrections along the way. It’s very much a Plan Do Check Adjust (PDCA) cycle, a total quality framework, that accelerates progress in all areas.

Note also that OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) are extremely effective for getting the whole company focused for 90 days on a comprehensive project selected by the CEO. OKRs accelerate progress because of the focus, alignment, short timeframe and all-company involvement.

Business Planning Problem

Painful financial surprises

Financial surprises mostly happen when we’re not paying attention. We reduce surprises dramatically when we generate the proper financial reports and metrics and then analyze the information frequently and carefully together. This discipline pays off directly in the financial realm and indirectly in every area of the company.

Surprises happen when we don’t see what’s coming. But we can see 95% of what’s ahead when we generate the information we need, and then look at it. Sounds simple, but most companies don’t do this nearly enough. So to avoid most unhappy surprises go ahead and upgrade your information gathering and reporting process across your business.

Business Planning Problem

Staff not aligned

Think of a bundle of straws held together and then released on your desk. The straws fall pointing every which way. Well that’s what lack of alignment looks like in a business when we don’t have an internal alignment process..
Alignment starts with having and sharing the company’s strategy using a strategy map or other mechanism that creates strategic focus.. Beyond that it’s about aligning strategic and other special initiatives, building strategy focused budgets and training people in areas that most support the company’s ability to deliver on its strategic customer value promise. All this doesn’t necessarily change what you’re doing. It simply says you put strategy at the center of every conversation. From there alignment occurs naturally with all of its attendant benefits.

Business Planning Problem

Lack of employee buy-in

We generally buy into other peoples’ goals and plans only when we want to. You’ve probably heard it said that “people don’t care how much you know (or what you want) until they know how much you care”.

Getting our people to care is not difficult. Start by treating each person as an important member of the team, no matter what role they play. How? Keep them informed, ask their opinion and listen to what they say. Beyond that, it pays to invest in peoples’ careers and personal development. It shows you care. And of course we all like to understand WHY something is important before we’re asked to buy in, so let’s make that clear at the onset.

These simple best practices lay the foundation for a strong team culture where most everyone regularly goes the extra mile because they want to, not because you tell them to. And, of course, where there’s a will there’s a way!

Business Planning Problem

Changing priorities

A properly run business rarely changes priorities. Once the strategy is set, priorities are identified and plans are set in place, it’s mostly a matter of making mild mid-course corrections not wholesale changes.

Frequent priority changes are as disruptive to a company and its employees as yanking your steering wheel from right to left and back again as you drive down the street. The way to avoid this problem is to agree up front on a destination and itinerary or game plan. Do the priority shifting in the planning stages and then agree on a course and stick to it as long as it makes sense. Yes, exogenous factors can disrupt our plans and yes, sometimes our plans don’t work out and need to be changed. But in most circumstances good planning prevents unproductive priority changes.

The Big Six Cure

Be at “cause” instead of “effect”

Use plans to create a bright future.    Strategic plans put you ahead of your competitors.  Sales plans increase accountability and accelerate growth.  Financial plans let you create the future instead of just reacting to it. Project plans speed up execution.   Personal development plans create enthusiastic and capable employees. 

Six Simple Steps to
Increase Profits