I was a division President in a Fortune 500 company, and I remember this moment like it was yesterday. In a planning meeting with all the executives in our company, I looked up and there was our group president. He ran a $2B business. He asked all of us to come up to the front of the room and form a circle around him, kind of like you see on the football field when the team comes together around one of the team leaders right before the game. He was in the middle of the circle and we were all huddled around him.
He then yelled out as loud as he could: “Where are we going?!”
We were all kind of surprised and looking at each other.
But before we could even think about it, he directed us to yell, “Up!” So, we did. And then we did it 3 or 4 more times.
“Where are we going? Up!”
“Where are we going? Up!”
Of course, in order to go ‘up’, we would need to define what that means and how we would get there, and we went out and built a plan to do just that. But kind of an unusual way to start, right?!
The point for you is: As you think about your business next year and how you will motivate your team to higher levels, what are you planning to do differently to change the momentum?
If you achieved all of your goals last year, you might be thinking, ‘how do we push this even higher’. What are the best areas to focus on? What is the next best opportunity?
If you did not achieve your goals last year, you have some issues. What did you miss. Was it a bad plan or a miss in execution? Some executives force targets on the organization without thinking through the details to get there, and when those targets are missed, they blame the team. We can do better than this. Let’s put more energy into our strategic planning this year, involve the team, and develop a more thorough execution plan.
“Execution is about the discipline of getting things done.”
—Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
I know what you’re thinking. Do I really need to spend a ton of company time developing an annual strategic plan? And the answer is that it is not just for you. Your people need direction also.
Let me ask you a question. If we polled your team on the direction of the business today, and what the top 3 priorities are – do you think they would all give us the same answers? Probably not. Do you know why? Because you have not clearly defined your plan as a company. That’s an issue. Being clear on the answers to these questions are fundamental to your team having focus, and as such, spending your time and money on the most important initiatives. If you do not do this, you are going to waste dollars and not get the ROI you want from your marketing and sales investments to drive growth.
The strategic plan is a teambuilding opportunity that includes your associates, partners, and customers – and if done well, it will get everyone energized and in synch on how we want to grow the business. This includes defining the market segments you pursue, who your customer target is (persona), your product/service offerings, what differentiates you from everyone else going after that same thing, and a strong execution plan to get you to Point B. Yes, we are going from Point A to Point B – and you are going to lead the way!
The 7 Assets that Build Value
Building your strategic plan for the coming year is a 3-step process of: 1) Getting input and ideas; 2) Organizing those inputs into Point A (where we are today) and Point B (where we want to be), and 3) defining the execution plan to get from Point A to Point B.
To frame this up in an organized fashion, my recommendation is to utilize ‘The 7 Assets that Build Value’. Let’s get started!
ANNUAL PLAN – YOUR COMPANY
- FINANCIALS and METRICS
What is your current performance?
What is your projected performance?
What are your key investments?
What do your people think we can do better?
How is your operational performance?
What are your profit improvement programs?
- CURRENT CUSTOMERS
Customer Base segments and growth
Customer Base satisfaction, retention and feedback
6 ways to grow within the customer base. Which is the biggest opportunity for you?
What is your sales organization structure and performance?
Sales process changes needed
Pipeline activity and opportunity
Partners signed and results vs. plan. Changes for the coming year?
Are we winning new customers?
What are you the thought leader of? What is your brand from customers point of view?
What is our messaging by market, our value add?
What marketing investments can drive more growth (PR, conferences, website, social, etc.)?
Does the customer love what we deliver? Why or why not?
How many new products and services launched vs. plan last year?
What are the new products and services that will generate revenue in the coming year?
Any new business venture or startup opportunities to evaluate?
- PARTNER CONTRACTS
Partnerships you have established, and related Contracts
How are they working and what will you change?
Will you add new partners and what is the expected result?
- PEOPLE and ORGANIZATION REVIEW
What is your company morale like?
Do you have the culture to drive the plan?
What are your people recommending you do to win in the market?
Do you have the team to drive the plan?
All 7 Assets are important to evaluate and advance. How would you grade yourself on these 7 areas today? I think you will recognize that there are opportunities are out there for you, but it will take some of your time to evaluate them. Tools like the Growth Cube can help you get focused quickly on the best opportunities for growth in your business. But it’s not going to just come to you. You have to go after growth if you want it!
“Where are we going?”
– Your Associate Is Thinking This
Creating Company Energy
So, you have went to your organization and your customers and have some great ideas and you have analyzed your metrics and have identified opportunities and issues to fix. This has been collected and organized around the 7 Assets that Build Value. You are doing great! The team is starting to get excited, but they are also wondering if you are going to back it up and do it! They will help you execute, but will you commit to invest time and money yourself – with them – to get energy and movement? Can you make this planning exercise fun and agile and help develop your company speed?
Yes – successful execution and great energy are mainly about you, the leader. It’s about putting people in the right roles and rewarding those who “do.” It’s about staying focused and following through on the most important milestones. It’s about digging into the details of the plans and executing. And it’s about building a start-up atmosphere that we’re all in this fight together, and we are going to win!
I have started up 3 companies myself in the past 5 years, and I coach startup and small business CEOs to help them reach their potential as a company. We all know what the startup culture is like, right? The buzz. Staying lean and low cost while you build that new innovation that is going to change the game! Everyone is focused on the same goal. It’s fun and there is camaraderie and excitement.
If you want more energy in your team this coming year, get your people thinking liking a startup.
“Look at strategic planning as a team building opportunity!”
The bottom line is this: the development of the strategic plan will require a team effort and will be a team building exercise for the company as you coalesce around what you are going to become and how you will do it in the coming year. In the process, you will develop a deeper understanding of your markets, your products, and your services – and as a team, you will create a startup culture and a startup energy within your company. That energy will provide a tailwind for your business and and your team – and take your business all the way to the top this coming year!
Ready to explore your potential?
- 1-on-1 Coaching: Gary has implemented the ideas above successfully with his own teams, and he is actively refining them today with his CEO coaching customers. Can we help you implement positive results in your company? Contact Gary directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Learn at your own pace: Join The Growth Cube Academy – a training school for small business CEOs that includes 20-minute video workshops conducted by Gary that you can listen to at your leisure, and focus in on specific topics.
- Think – Order Gary’s book, The Growth Cube, or join Gary’s newsletter and stay up-to-date with new successful models and tools!
- Learn more about how Gary is applying these principles real-time in his startup company. Go to www.woundwiseIQ.com and sign up to see a demo or invest in Gary’s AI and imaging analytics software products that help improve patient wound healing.