It’s planning time!

Company planning for many can be a real drag. Figuring out what you’re going to do, when, how, and who is going to pay for it can be challenging. But if you see it as a drag, you’re missing something. To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, planning is a form of dreaming. Great planning requires imagination and vision! You need to be able to see the possibilities of where you might go next, and then figure out if you can get there.

Does your company planning contain the excitement of possibilities? If not, consider a few ideas about how to make it better:

  • Who is doing it (part 1)? In many organizations, strategic plans are created by a small group of executives. While limiting the planning process to a few people makes it easier to manage, in many companies it comes with a significant downside – the homogeneity of the C-suite offers little variation in lived experience. According to a study by Cloverpop, diverse companies are 60% more likely to outperform homogenous teams in decision-making. While it can be easier said than done, particularly in larger organizations, promoting diverse team members into decision-making roles can have a significant impact.
  • Who is doing it (part 2)? A relatively unknown fact is that C-suite executives rarely come out of disciplines outside of operations or finance. While new C-level titles about, consider the three most common – CEO, COO, and CFO. If this is the group creating your strategic plan, they’re ignoring a large swath of expertise. Consider creating C-level positions in marketing, sales customer service, and other non-finance or operations areas.
  • How are you doing it? Does your strategic plan start with budget, or does it start with goals? If you start with budget, you’re automatically taking away what’s possible. While you need to consider resources, that’s a strategic step to take after determining goals. You can always determine that a goal can’t be reached with available resources, but it’s rare to look at resources and figure out possibilities. Begin with goals. Then determine the resources you need to meet those goals. If you don’t have them or can’t get them, then scale back.
  • Are your goals modular? Once you’ve set organizational goals, then let your departments set goals that contribute to the achievement of the larger goal in a bottom-up approach. This gives both different sets of ideas as well as buy-in from line managers.
  • Does each person have goals? Everyone in your company should have a set of personal goals they’re trying to reach within the framework of your organization. The majority of them should contribute to goals of the company. Some will contribute to the well-being of the individual, which indirectly impacts the good of the organization.

These are just a few ways in which planning can be made more fun, more productive, and more profitable.

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