Pillar Two – PLANNING
In this chapter we discuss in detail:
1. Who should have goals and plans?
2. Planning Overview
3. Goal Planner Template
4. Strategy Example
5. Building Your Plan – It starts with you
6. Putting it on Paper
8. Keep your Goals S.M.A.R.T.
“The end depends on the beginning” or in Latin “Finis Origine Pendet” made famous in the Kevin Klein movie, The Emperors Club.
Implementing the points in Pillar One – Position sets a strong foundation and direction for your business. It’s now time to put in place the step by step strategies, goals, and plans that will move your business forward and make it profitable.
Remember “The end depends on the beginning”.
I am surprised by the number of people I meet who do not spend any time planning what they want to achieve from their business, life or relationships. Beyond an annual visit to their financial planner and accountant most people typically do not spend any quality time planning. Even fewer people actually commit their plans to paper. “It’s all in my head” is a very common response when I ask about planning.
If you do not devote quality time to setting your goals, committing them to paper and reviewing your progress every day, you do not have a plan, you have a dream at best.
Pillar 2 is designed to give you a roadmap to assist you in putting in place the strategies, goals and plans that will take your business and your life closer to realising your ultimate Vision.
How do you achieve your goals?
The same way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time!
1. Who should have goals and plans?
My favourite question of clients is “When we are sitting here in 12 months discussing your business what are the achievements that will make you happy?”
When this question is first asked very few people are clear on what they want to achieve – and even fewer have engaged in a meaningful planning session. Hardly anyone has a written plan to which they regularly refer back to.
Everyone from the Owner, CEO, General Manager, Sales Team, Factory Team, Admin Team, Cleaners and Delivery Drivers should have goals. Why? Because they all have a role in the business and they will all want to contribute and be recognised for their contribution. If they do not want to contribute, perhaps you have the wrong people!
A culture of setting and achieving goals at all levels is also a very positive position for any business. People respond well to achieving and being recognised.
2. Planning Overview
Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) – If you could have the perfect business what would it be? What would be produced and when will it all happen? This is your perfect world scenario.
Strategy – This is the direction you wish to take your business. What are you building? All goals will be consistent with achieving your overall Strategy.
Goal – These are the things that need to be done to realise your Strategy.
Plan – This is the document where you record your Goals and track your progress.
Milestones – These are the things you put in place (or that will occur naturally) to let you know progress is being made.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – These aresimilar to Milestones, however KPIs are generally tracked more frequently (daily, weekly) and let you know if the business is headed in the right direction.
$$$ Result by goal – What are you ultimately trying to achieve? Is it an increase in sales, lower costs or greater productivity? Try to quantify what you wish to achieve by completing this goal.
Every worthwhile thing, and many not so worthwhile things, that have been achieved by mankind started as an idea in someone’s brain. Typically those ideas have followed the same trajectory:
- The Challenge – A problem, issue or challenge needed to be solved. What type of life or business did the person want to create? What was their ideal solution?
- Creative Thinking – Time was invested to find a solution to an issue. Thought, discussion and planning took place.
- Experimentation – Different solutions were tried, poor solutions were discarded, the correct solution gets a little closer and then the most productive solution is discovered.
- Implementation – The solution is implemented and documented so as it can be repeated. The results are tracked and the process, plan or solution is reviewed and improved as necessary.
The planning process for your business is no different.
- Identify the Challenge – Decide what you want; is it more profit, more team members, new premises or new product lines?
- Use Creative Thinking to brainstorm with the stakeholders to find the best way to achieve this.
- Experiment with a few variations, decide on the best direction, and
- Implement and document the process, track the results and modify as required.
3.Goal Planner Template
Goal start date: __________________ Goal Completion date: __________________
Team Member Responsible:______________ Project Manager: ______________________
Actions – The steps to be taken to accomplish the goal
1) Complete by:
2) Complete by:
3) Complete by:
4) Complete by:
5) Complete by:
Milestones – Identify how you will know each action is accomplished
Results – Why are we doing this? Identify what your company will gain by accomplishing this goal
SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time Framed.
The owner of a building business that currently has 5 employees has a Growth Strategy to turn over $10m and to employ 20 people within 5 years.
To achieve this level of growth in 5 years there are many issues to be considered and addressed. Just a few are:
- What additional skills does the owner need to develop to achieve the goal?
- Are the current team members skilled to assist with the growth?
- Does the market support this growth?
- What are competitors likely to do as the business grows?
- How will the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business change when the goal is achieved?
- How many new customers/ sales will be required to support this growth?
- Where will this come from? Existing clients spending more, clients new to the business, move from competitors, natural growth?
- Are the current premises sufficient for this growth?
- What processes are in place to review financial health as the business grows?
- Are there process improvement plans in place to support the business as it grows?
- Is there an exit strategy if there are changes in the market?
To achieve this growth there should be goals and plans for Teams, Customers, Finances, Competitors, Marketing and Processes.
To achieve the Growth Strategy
- The ultimate Vision must be clear to everyone on the team
- Yearly milestones must be clearly documented
- Quarterly goals to achieve the yearly milestones must be clearly documented
- Weekly goals to achieve the quarterly goals must be clearly documented
- Daily goals to achieve the weekly goal must be clearly documented
Plus, everyone on the team must be clear about their contribution and what roles/tasks they need to perform to assist the business to achieve the goals.
5. Building Your Plan – It starts with you
1) Have clarity and know what you want – this is your Vision
E.g. we will be a Building Company operating in southern Sydney employing 20 people and turning over $10m within 5 years.
2) Align your goals with your desire. Know Why you want to achieve this particular goal.
E.g. this level of business will be sustainable long-term, provide opportunities for future generations of my family, contribute to prosperity in my community and provide me with a positive lifestyle.
3) Write down your goals and your Why and review them daily.
4) Believe in yourself. Have confidence that you have what it takes to achieve your goals.
5) Learn, learn and learn some more! Study what you need to know to achieve your goals. Invest time and money into your knowledge and seek out those who have done it before and learn from them.
6) Share your goals with others and be held accountable to achieve at each step.
6. Putting it on Paper
Written goals will:
- Keep you and your team better focused on positive outcomes
- Provide a more positive business culture
- Help you reach your goals more quickly
- Enable you to better control costs
- Keep everyone on track
- Enable you to modify your goals when needed using an existing “roadmap” without a total reinvention of the process.
The process that I suggest is very simple:
1) Take time away from your business to have an offsite meeting. Include your key team members and other stakeholders such as your life partner and/or accountant.
2) Reinforce the ultimate goal to those attending; your Why, Values and Vision. Remember, your Vision will describe where you are going or who you want to be.
3) Revisit your SWOT (Strengths, Weakness’, Opportunities & Threats ) analysis, get everyone on the same page and start looking for input from the collective brain in your organisation.
4) Review where the business is currently and be clear about where you want the business to go.
5) Brainstorm the steps required to achieve the overall goal.
6) At this point decide how far in advance you would like to work. If your ultimate goal is five years away, focus on the steps to do this year that will move you towards your goal. Focus on the here and now without losing sight of the end game.
7) Brainstorm each step (now a goal) and determine the actions required to achieve the goal.
Write up each goal and determine:
a)When to start working on it.
b)When it will be completed.
c)What are the action steps required to complete the goal?
d)Who will be responsible for completing the action steps and achieving the goal?
e)What will be the value to the business for achieving this goal?
f)What milestones will indicate the goal is completed?
8) Assign the responsibility of completing the Goal Planners to the person overseeing each goal. Reconvene within a week, no longer, to review the final draft and discuss next steps.
9) Confirm the individual Goals and Action plans for each stakeholder.
10)Allocate time for regular catch up meetings so individuals can report back to the team on their progress. I would recommend that these meetings are held monthly at a minimum.
11)Develop a common reporting process that will be used by all to report back to the team.
Remember to keep your goals realistic and based on assumptions that are verifiable. In my office I have a 300 page plan that was created by a start-up company. This company lasted about 12 months before the owners recognised that the critical point they had missed was that there was a very small market available for their service. No sales equals no business!
While they had planned for many, many contingencies they hadn’t adequately surveyed their target market to enable them to base their assumptions on fact-based research. Our builder friend in the example above would understand that before doing anything else there was a place in his market for a company of that size and that there was sufficient new business opportunities to sustain that level of growth.
Reviewing your Goals is the single most important thing that you can do for your business and your future. Reinforce that with yourself and your team every day. Don’t make the mistake of deferring work on your future for relatively minor day-to-day issues. Yes, you do have to protect your day-to-day business but a successful future will not just happen…you have to drive it!
We have a plan…what now?
Ensure that your Goals can be understood and supported by your team.
To implement a huge complex plan in a small and medium business is typically impossible. Keeping it simple is the key to achieving your goals without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
Once your plan is straight forward, practical and ready to be clearly communicated to your team. Let them know:
1) What you are all going to achieve by working together
2) What they can expect from you and what you will expect from them
3) Without over-promising, communicate the benefits that a stronger growing business will have to them as team members. In my experience most people would rather work in a business that was going places than one that is stagnate.
4) Communicate your successes openly and celebrate them. Also communicate openly when you did not reach a target or deadline. Acknowledge the issue and improve for next time.
5) Ask for and accept feedback on the progress of the plan. If required, modify your plan and ensure credit is given for constructive feedback.
6) Have a Quarterly Planning session to validate or update the plan.
7) Have a Quarterly Communication session with the full team to update progress.
8.Keep your Goals S.M.A.R.T.
In the November 1981 issue of Management Review, George T. Doran wrote an article called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”.
It discussed the importance of objectives and the difficulty of setting them. Ideally speaking, each company, department, and section objective should be driven by SMART Goals.
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
- Assignable – specify who will do it
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved
Example: End of Financial Year June 2018 sales will increase by 20%
This is be the responsibility of the sales team led by P Smith
Is this Specific? Yes – overall Sales
Is this Measurable? Yes – 20%
Is it Assignable? Yes – P Smith and sales team
Is it Realistic? Yes – it is in line with current trend (assumed)
Is it Time Related? Yes – June 2018