How are you progressing toward the plans you set for your business this year? Most all business owners and management teams start each year with a set of goals/objectives that they intend to achieve for the year. Those goals/objectives are supported by strategies, and those strategies are supported by action plans. Now that we’re about one-third of the way through the year, it’s time to take a look at our execution and progress. There are really three places you can be at this point: ahead of plan, on target, or behind schedule. My focus of this post is the proper structure and timing of the action plans – thus keeping you on target.
When I begin working with management teams on planning, it seems they want to achieve (or at least begin working on) all of their action plans right now. Their actions plans for the year might include bringing a new product to market, hiring a key employee, implement new software, and redesigning their employee benefits. The sense I get from most management teams is that they need to get started on all four of these plans at the beginning of the year and finish them as quickly as possible. The reality of operating a business is that most management teams and businesses lack the capacity and resources to achieve all of their set action plans at once. For this reason, you should schedule your action plans out across the year so that the resources – both time and monetary- are available to achieve the plans.
So here is the action plan for this week:
- Pull out your 2012 plan and review the action items you had on your plan which were necessary to achieve the goals for the year.
- Make an assessment of how you are progressing toward your plans and goals: ahead of plan, on target, or behind schedule.
- If you are ahead of plan, assess whether you were sandbagging when you created the plan and whether you can continue to stay ahead of the plan all year.
- If you are on target, than assess whether you can stay on target and what unforeseen events could keep you from staying on target.
- If you are behind target, assess the plans and the goals and determine what needs to change to make the plan a reality. Take the time to strategize on the actions and put them in the proper order to get the most benefit from them. If you need to realign or restructure the plans and the actions, it is much better to do it now than to keep operating under the assumption that you will achieve the plans and end up falling short.
- Set a time each month to work on your plan and review you accomplishments against your goals.
And my parting thought: inaction will not achieve your goals/objectives.
Tax returns, financial statements, IRS communications and similar items are vital to address and process, but they should not be the focal point. Think of these as tasks to get to the real work, which is providing you the information you need and an interchange of ideas to move you forward. The goal is to help you implement your strategies and vision. This is what we do!