As we emerge from the economic and social challenges of 2020 (a year unlike any other in so many ways), business owners are attempting to size up the operating environment and what all of this means for their business.
By focusing on what we can anticipate, framing an effective and flexible plan will serve organizations of any size or specialty well.
The accelerated pace of change, advancing technology and increasing competition from non-traditional sources means there are no longer such things as small mistakes. This rapidly changing environment will punish organizations who fail to plan effectively and execute reliably and with predictable accuracy.
Recently, I spoke with several clients who make strategic planning an essential part of their core competency. They did not retreat from planning despite all the uncertainty encountered in the current operating environment. Rather, they “doubled down” of the practice of disciplined, structured planning and execution. Frequent check-in’s (done even in “normal” times) took on even greater meaning in a vastly different Covid-19 world.
What are some of the reasons executives of leading companies feel so strongly about planning as critical to the continued growth and profitability of their business? Here are a few.
Consistency in decision making is helped by the planning process. Because allocations of resources are viewed over the long term, future decisions are generally more consistent.
Direction is clear. The planning process requires management to determine what is important, as well as to state future targets for accomplishment in objective, measurable terms.
Planning assists problem resolution. As business conditions change, alternatives and contingencies outlined in the plan can be quickly implemented.
The planning provides a basis for monitoring (to observe an action against a pre-determined standard) and evaluating the performance of the organization and each of its employees.
Planning helps employees understand the corporate vision, where the organization is headed and how it is progressing against the plan.
One executive said it this way. “Something happens when the management team gets together for a day or two for robust, focused strategic planning. I’m not sure why but getting away from the day to day operational issues to work on the future of the business creates a different dynamic among our team. Relationships are strengthened, and higher levels of understanding and commitment result.”
For more information on ways in which your organization can benefit from a structured planning process, let’s set up a brief call.