September 24, 2009

Do You Have A Strategic Plan?

One Third Win
The numbers are slightly different depending on the study, but the number of businesses that launch then thrive is quite small. About 30% of all new companies actually see their way to black ink.

Why Is That?

I have worked on fifty-page Strategic Plans, it's a lot of work!

It requires people and meetings and the result is an extensive blueprint for the next fiscal year. For the most part, the Plan was followed and people were held accountable. Each tactic had dates and money and people attached to it so the Plan could be realistically and properly executed.

I would often test people’s knowledge of the Plan by asking them if they could recite our Three Strategic Objectives. Most did well on that point. But when it got to the tactics and time lines and who does what by when, their ability to recount the Plan began to decline.

But you don't need a fifty-page Plan to succeed. Trust me! Those things were behemoths. No wonder no one could remember what was in them.

Why do companies fall short of their goals?

Focus


This is often a catch-all that isn’t given the attention it deserves. If you’re in a well financed start-up, it can be intoxicating. Ideas are following, people are happy and it’s exciting. But once the balloons deflate and the actual real work begins and you experience that first difficult client, things may begin to wobble.

Market

It’s even more essential that you are aware of your market. That includes where you are geographically, the industry you are in, what your competitors are doing and the never ending changes in customer desires and demands.

A Plan is not something you put in a pretty binder to sit alongside previous years' Plans to simply collect dust.

Homework

No matter your industry or role, you need to be constantly educating yourself on opportunities and trends. We have the world’s largest encyclopedia at our fingertips but how many of us end up at the same websites every day?

Accountability

This has always been a hot button. It looks good on the wall or in your company propaganda or on your website. “We’re accountable!” Are you? In order for this to gain traction, everyone in your organization must be accountable to everyone in your organization. No exceptions.

Execution

Plans are useless without action. If you take the required time to set out a Plan, then actually carry it out.

I’m a guy, I hate reading instructions but I have often destroyed a purchase because I didn’t read the sheet of paper with the thing I needed to assemble. That is why the instructions are there. That is why you galvanize a Strategic Plan.

Then you do need to be nimble so you can react to opportunities that may not have been there when you developed your Plan. You won’t be able to do so if everything you do is by the seat of your pants.

Communication

This is the largest reason companies fail. We can discuss this at length another time but it is monumentally imperative that you keep clear collaborative communications open with everyone in your organization or the clock is ticking.

Fear

We are human beings. We mess up. We mean well. We have the best of intentions. But we miss steps and get frustrated and get filled with self-doubt which stops us from getting there. And we forget to ask for help!

Am I way off the mark?
What are your thoughts on this?


knealemann.at.gmail.com

image credit: postyourtest.com

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