Every business needs a vision - a clear definition of what its leadership seeks the business to become.
And every business needs a strategy - a roadmap of how the business will reach its vision.
Once the vision and the strategy are clear, the next step is action planning – the day-by-day mapping of how all of this good but sometimes theoretical “stuff” will actually get done.
This involves determining which projects will be completed (and as importantly, which ones will NOT), by whom and when, and how many resources - work hours, money, and assets - will be required.
Now, this is lovely for the whiteboard but what business more often than not looks like is…
Unclear, Unshared Vision. With all the time most management teams spend talking to each other, it's surprising how often they have different pictures of what everyone is supposed to be doing and in what direction they are supposed to be heading.
It's the hard and repetitive job of leadership to repeatedly communicate the plan (i.e. the vision, the strategy, and the day-to-day roadmap) until all are on the same page.
And then rinse and repeat.
Planning Once Per Year, Out Of Routine. So many of us, in January, think about our personal goals for the year ahead.
Similarly, many businesses work on their yearly plan during the same month of every year.
And then they forget about it.
The best businesses, in contrast, create, refine, and live their business plans in real time, every day.
Yes, this is far, far easier said than done, now more than ever because of…
The Tyranny of the Urgent. In my humble view, the greatest challenge to businesses attaining greatness is how difficult it is, because of technology, to not let those “urgent, but NOT important" activities dominate our days.
More than ever, we must fight for the time and attention to do the important work, and block out those insidious distractions everywhere and always around us.
No Process or Methodology For Strategic Planning. A best practice is to focus on vision and strategy in one set of sessions, and then on the day-to-day action planning in another.
In discussing vision and strategy, we are in creative mode, exploring any and all options and ideas.
In contrast, figuring out the best day-to-day action plans is best suited for separate, more analytical-type meetings.
With appropriate time set aside for vision, for strategy, and for action planning, a business can experience the collective joy that comes from knowing exactly what it is striving toward and how it will get there.
Everyone at the business will feel more grounded, balanced, and centered.
Being so, all will come to work with greater purpose and passion.
And, at the end of the year, will have far more to show for their efforts.