Far too many companies have developed the belief that planning is a waste of time, and therefore don’t invest any energy or resources in planning. There are two possible causes:
- They have never tried planning and therefore don’t understand how critical planning is to success.
- Their planning efforts haven’t gone well, and they’ve given up.
I see #2 far more frequently than #1. An executive team invested time and energy into a past year annual planning process, and two months after the plans were complete, their world changed and the plans were rendered obsolete. Their conclusion became “planning is a waste of time” instead of “we didn’t do a good job of anticipating the events of our upcoming year so we were blindsided.”
There is always a risk that plans can become obsolete before the planning year is finished, but if you use a concise planning tool like the Gazelles One Page Strategic Plan, the plans are quick to revise when your world changes overnight. Instead of abandoning the planning process, simply revise the plan and begin operating under a new and up-to-date plan.
Here are the 3 key reasons you need to develop a plan to make 2014 your best year ever:
More than anything else, the planning process forces clarity of thinking. It forces each individual member of your planning team to become clear on what they see as the organization’s priorities for the upcoming year. If you are more advanced in your planning efforts, you can also poll the smartest people in your organization and ask them what they see as the next year’s priorities. You cannot build a building without a blueprint, and you cannot cook a complicated meal without a recipe. Having a written plan that galvanizes the collective vision of the smartest people in the organization is critical to moving forward in the best possible direction.
Once you get each member of the planning team clear on what they individually see as the priorities for the year, the planning process then allows each member of the team to share their vision and to compare and contrast the pictures they each see. This process, and the ensuing debates that need to happen in a healthy culture, create over time an alignment around a collective vision that develops as a result of the “wisdom of the crowd” and not the vision of a solitary individual operating alone. When the plan gets rolled out to the organization, it creates further clarity in guiding the thoughts and actions of the full team in a common direction.
When you have clarity of purpose, and alignment around that purpose, it becomes possible to set departmental and individual accountabilities so people are clear about what’s expected of them and when they will need to deliver.
4. Likeliness of Performance
At the end of the day, the purpose of planning is to get people into action in a coordinated manner on projects and tasks that will set the organization up for maximum success. When you have clarity of vision, broad alignment around that vision, and clear accountabilities assigned, you set yourself up to accomplish far more than would otherwise be possible.
To partner with Business Improvement LLC to build a company that develops and achieves great plans, visit Business Improvement or call 1.215.830.1222 to speak directly with Doug Diamond.