Winners Plan… and Planners Win
What does it really take to be successful in today’s fast paced, competitive business environment? Two important factors are 1) meticulously managing your day to day operations, and 2) planning for the future, both short and long term. However, planning often gets short changed because of the rigors of managing the day to day business. Planning should not be put off, or given too little time. Managing profitable growth requires a different kind of leadership… one that focuses the organization on doing the right things, and doing things right. A proper planning process can, in fact, change the face of an organization by establishing guiding principles that will drive sales and profits to new heights. A sound, long term strategic approach can redirect, recharge and/or reinvent organizations.
There are six fundamental reasons to invest quality time and resources on a regularly scheduled planning process.
1. Visibility – If you think you know your business, you don’t. In today’s marketplace customers, competitors and suppliers are constantly changing, and to be successful you need to adapt or die. The planning process begins by providing a better understanding of the external and internal business landscape, thereby enhancing your understanding of your business.
2. Focus – Every successful company is presented with a continuous stream of new ideas. However, the excitement of the moment could cause you to chase the wrong opportunities, and waste precious resources. Every organization needs to have clearly stated (strategic) guidelines that help choose what products and markets it should be pursuing, as well as those that should not be pursued.
3. Competitive advantage – Visibility and focus make you a more formidable competitor. You understand your strengths and capabilities and how to leverage them in the market. Your organization becomes a leader, rather than a follower in the industry… proactive rather than reactive.
4. Communication – Employees often complain of a lack of communication from the top. People need to know what is important, and what they need to do to contribute to the organization’s success. A good plan will involve everyone, getting them out of their silos and working in cross-functional teams.
5. Motivation – Employees become motivated as a result of a more focused and better-informed organization. A strategic plan inspires employees and promotes change. A motivated workforce is a powerful competitive advantage and will increase the odds of success.
6. Growth – It is the lifeblood of every organization. Without growth, your organization becomes stale and competition will overtake you. Staying at the top of your game depends on constantly challenging the status quo, and pursuing profitable growth.