Where’s the Plan

I’ve written before, no plan is a plan to fail.  It’s January – the start of the year for many.  And even if your company isn’t on the calendar year, chances are you think about your income that way.  Do you have a plan to grow this year?

Most of the people I ask, don’t really have a plan.  Instead, they have put together a budget (which is not a bad start), which details what will be spent to keep the business running, and calls for a certain quota on sales.  If the sales numbers are not met, the budget will not produce the expected profit.  Half way through the year, managers will be sitting around wondering why they are not hitting their numbers, and hoping to make it up in the second half.  This is not a plan.  This is not a strategy.

Some companies will have an annual kick off meeting.  Many companies are doing that this month.  What will they accomplish?  If they focus on product training, sales number reviews, and parties, I will be a waste of time.  No one will remember these things as the year begins.

This week I am headed out to my company planning meeting.  It’s a time to look back at what was accomplished, what went well, and an honest assessment of what did not go well.  It’s a time to review who performed and who didn’t.  In my case, the number of employees I have makes that easy, but for most, it’s an important and difficult step.  It’s a time to consider what must change in the vision of the company, the mission you carry out, and how you are approaching the market – it’s strategic, not tactical.  This should be taking place on a business level as well as on a personal level.  It involves setting the high level goals with a plan to meet them.  It means going beyond the dream of hitting a certain number and figuring out how it will be met.  It also means getting rid of dead weight – things (or people) that don’t produce fruit.  This year I will spend four days on this process – why?  Because it’s likely the most important thing I do all year to make sure I am headed in the right direction.

© 2012, David Stelzl


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