Strategic planning is a critical part of growing a successful business. A high performance work culture needs a system that makes sure that employee goals are aligned and everyone is focused on the right stuff.
The fact is that many small-to-midsize companies do not have a structured process from which to conduct strategic planning. This is like many adults who do not exercise, despite knowing it’s good for them. Perfect health isn’t guaranteed by regular exercise, but the likelihood of attaining good health is dramatically increased. Strategic breakthrough business guessing/planning works for businesses in much the same way as exercise works for the individual.
The process should take place over two to three months and take three to four days. It is predicated on White Papers and dialogue. Listening and understanding are critical. Better research ensures better debate and thinking. “What is a White Paper?” you ask hysterically.
A White Paper is a three-to- five page paper that addresses the critical issue. The paper should deal directly with the issues. It is, with research and analysis, the “answer” submitted by the smaller group to the entire planning team.
Once you have created the plan, you need to make sure it is acted upon. Monthly meetings of one to three hours and spending time on objectives and action plans will ensure focus. Then, once a quarter, the planning team should meet offsite, preferably with a coaching resource like yours truly (bonus points if the coach is bald-headed; it makes the coach smarter and buffer…really!) At the session, the group will look at what happened in the quarter and then focus on what needs to happen in the next quarter. This will keep everyone aligned on what needs to take place to push the company forward.
For more information about CMI’s Business Planning Process click here.