5 Tips for Building Bigger, Better Results
With 2006 quickly approaching, many companies are in the midst of thinking about “what’s next.” Whether it’s new customer acquisition plans, or accelerating profits, or displacing an emerging competitor, the pace and magnitude of success lies in clear thinking and planning now. The words planning and thinking sometimes imply “slow down,” but in reality the pace of business is ever — increasing and we need to figure out how to cause market momentum. Not slower, but faster.
Many execs and entrepreneurs avoid planning because they consider it a paper-driven complex process that costs a lot of money, takes loads of time, and drains the energy of the management team. But planning doesn’t have to be mysterious, complicated or time-consuming. In fact, for most companies, it ought to be quick, simple and easily implemented.
To get the most out of your 2006 planning process, Rubicon offers the following tips:
Gather a representative team. Bring together a small team (six to ten people) of company leaders and managers who represent every area of the company. We love the idea of bringing together a mix of really smart people who have different perspectives and asking them where we need to go to drive growth. Ask the question, “If we had to double the business next year, what would we have to do?” That’ll get the juices going.
Force yourself to think, not write. Let’s face it, most planning processes result in long documents that nobody refers back to throughout the year. A good plan boils the nuggets down to a single page. So rather than trying to figure out everything, focus on the top three goals and what you must do to get there. We advise our clients to focus on a one-pager that addresses five questions:
- Your goals. No more than three big goals
- What you will start doing to get there
- What you will stop doing
- What you must do more of
- What you must do less of
Get the support network you need. When most people think of support, images of people singing “Kumbaya” float through their heads. You need three types of support:
- People who believe in the idea. These people can help you to explore the idea and keep it alive.
- People who will challenge the idea. These people can help you learn what you need to know before going to market — and potentially wasting your time and money.
- People who can coach. These people can teach you how to be more successful. Coaching is a rare skill. Make sure you have people in your professional life who can coach you.
Make it a shared plan. No great business is led by a single person, and no great team achieves greatness with a “just work harder” mentality. No matter how smart you are, you can’t do it alone. A “shared plan” does not mean that everyone gets a veto. However, vision alignment is important. Also, help your team find their passions so they can own the plan and champion it. Passion is a much better motivator than assignment.
Make it actionable. To have any chance at success, the plan must clearly articulate goals, action steps, responsibilities, accountabilities and specific deadlines. The action plan should also state that the strategic plan is the beginning of implementation. Tactics follow strategy, and can be managed monthly or quarterly, but must be managed. Good strategic plans are fluid, not rigid and unbending. Your goals won’t change very often, but your action steps will.
So that’s it. Define success, define a plan, and get there. Creating a plan doesn’t limit you, it allows you to set a direction and keep all eyes on the horizon while you navigate rough waters. The form of the plan isn’t as important in the end as achieving real results, or as we say in at Rubicon — winning your market. Good luck with your 2006 planning, and let us know how Rubicon can help you achieve the growth you are looking for.