It’s that time of year when most of you are involved in the strategic planning process. If you have not already, you will soon be thinking about what you want 2013 to look like. Without a doubt, the past several years have been some of the toughest any of us have seen in our entire careers. We have had to deal with very difficult circumstances and had to make many painful decisions. We know the sacrifices many of you business owners have made to get through this daunting time. We congratulate you on your fortitude and commitment. Hopefully the early indicators for next year bode well for better business opportunities ahead. However, the better the planning and execution, the better the likelihood you will get the results you want.
We have been seeing in the business press for the past few months the really progressive companies that have survived the economic onslaught are now toning up to take advantage of recovery – when it happens. In other words, they want to be prepared to seize every possible business advantage when it is strategic. Get the message? If you are not prepared, the competition is coming after your lunch.
What better preparation methodology than a robust strategic planning process? We cannot imagine any better preparation regimen. We start with a comprehensive situation analysis that helps examine where you are performing in the following essential performance categories:
- PEOPLE – Attract and sustain talented people learning and growing
- SYSTEMS – Achieve excellence through internal business processes
- CUSTOMER – Attract and sustain customers by exceeding their needs and expectations
- FINANCIAL – Achieve financial goals including growth and profitability
- CULTURE – Achieve an environment of respect, teamwork and motivated performance
- MANAGEMENT – Trained manager-leaders achieve predictable results
Many businesses fail to get the full benefit from their strategies. A Harvard Business School survey found that of the businesses surveyed, they only achieved 63% of the financial performance their strategies promised. Further, only 10% successfully realize the fulfillment of their strategies developed in the strategic planning process. The missing ingredient? — An implementation strategy. Execution is critical. All too often, a strategic planning retreat results in a half-dozen lofty goals that, upon review a year later, are not fully realized.
In business, or life itself, you either get what you want — or take what you get. Successful business leaders find ways to enable their businesses to create predictable success; to get what they want. Our job as manager-leaders is to create predictable success. History has shown a well developed and executed plan increases the probability for success. Does your process need some bolstering to help your business tone up? If you would like to pick the brain of one of our seasoned practitioners, please give us a call. We would be delighted to share from our knowledge and experience to help you get the best business results out of 2013. Here’s to brighter days ahead. A good start is a good plan!
Hal Johnson has been CEO of multiple companies and has authored three books on business performance. He may be reached at [email protected] or (916) 391-3042.