Work Hard or Go Home
My wife, Vicki and I live in a small town and had reason to be in the middle school gymnasium. On the wall, behind the basketball goal, is a hand painted banner that says: “Work Hard----or Go Home.” This powerful display resonated with me. While it is intended for athletes, it got me thinking. Business teams also require an inspirational calling driven by defined leadership. This is a requirement.
Looking at that banner, business planning came to mind considering it’s the fourth quarter of most company’s fiscal year and the 2018’s plan needs to be created. That banner reminded me of the need for “an all hands on deck” assault to create a business plan for the coming year.
Business planning is as much about what is left out as what is input. The plan needs to be brief enough that it will be used and used a lot! It should be referred to in company and departmental meetings in terms of a progress report, an alignment report, and the essential actual numbers vs plan numbers. This consistent review of the plan and analysis of progress will lead to the adjustment report of actionable items. A “telephone book sized” plan does not fit the criteria. Those over-sized plans tend to be put on the shelf to collect dust because they are seldom referenced.
The plan must include a list of necessary KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, which will be measured. Then questions about the review of these KPIs must be answered:
- What is the required reporting time interval?
- Does the system have the ability to produce “Flash Reports” on a consistent, timely basis?
- Can KPIs be drilled down to individual employee performance, whether office or field staff?
The KPIs become the foundation of the business plan. The next step is finding and following a friendly business planning template. A good template generally has categories such as:
- Vision and mission statement
- Branding effectiveness
- Business direction emphasis
- SWOT Analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats including a comparison to in-industry and out-of-industry top performing company
- Budget: Pro-formas for the income statement and cash flow statement
- KPI targets and flash reports that will be generated and reviewed on a scheduled basis
- Three to five goals with the necessary action items that will ensure these are accomplished with included costs, start date, completion date, and person responsible
- Marketing plan for 52 weeks
- A complete Employee Training Plan for 52 weeks
- HR Plan coupled with risk avoidance
- Valuation Estimate and paragraph summary for an exit strategy
Keep in mind, all of the business planning effort is for naught if the short-term, long-term objectives, and goals are not reinforced with the lynch pin of monitored action items. If the action items are completed on time and on budget, then the goals are accomplished and the KPIs are met. Progress on the action items must be measured and reviewed so that adjustments in the plan can be made.
The plan should be evaluated monthly or quarterly at a very minimum. If the plan is not used to influence actions, decisions and performance, then why do it? If the plan is not used to measure individual, group, and company successes, then why do it? This evaluation is crucial to continue elevating the value of the business model.
Less than 10% of the companies in our industry do formal business planning. Do not let your investment in people and the company become at risk. Without a plan and measurements of progress morale may fall. When employees don’t know or understand the company direction, they may just “go home.”
Yes, business planning does require you and your team to “work hard”, but it is what some of the very best companies in this industry do every year. It can be a game changer.
Visit ServiceRoundtable.com for templates, tips, and tricks on working hard to avoid going home.