Blog – The Reality in Planning

What is it about planning? I am involved with Score and when I meet a client for the first time they have no plan.  Working with startup companies I seldom come across an early entrepreneur who has a plan. I try to introduce the ones I work with to start out with a canvas business model template than can be found on the internet. This is a great base for a business model and help with defining a plan.

Here is what I believe is needed for developing an effective plan 

Assumptions Are the Foundation for The Plan

There is no way to overstate the importance of this. I believe there are times or situations where more energy should be put in the assumptions. The effort in the assumptions forces you to think out the plan much better. Assumptions can include competitive information, pricing expectations, resources needed, yields in manufacturing and product life expectancy.

The better the assumptions, the easier to make changes when unexpected obstacles occur. It is also important to get the participants in the plan to understand and agree to the assumptions. 

“Plans are Born to be Changed”

The plan is only a road map, and whenever an obstacle occurs to change the direction, it’s time to change the plan. 

The Plan Is a Living Document!

It needs to be continually reviewed as it should drive the company and any need for change must be detected as soon as possible. 

“Concrete is for buildings and roads and not for casting plans in it.”

This then eliminates the need for a hammer and chisel to make changes 

“Planning Is The Act of Making Something Happen”

It is important to have a plan even if it is just possible to know what needs changing when it becomes necessary. 

The Planning Process Can Be More Important Than The Plan.

I have found this to be true most of the time. In putting the plan together, it forces companies to have a mission, and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the company as well as objectives and goals. 

Planning Requires Maturity.

The people who participate in the planning must be mature enough to accept change and be objective. 

Planning requires discipline, analysis, innovation, cooperation and a clear definition of the assumptions.

All of this is required in the planning exercise and makes for a better company. The plan should be a living document and like the assumptions, the better it is done, the easier it is to change. 

Planning requires team work

The more people participating in developing the plan will increase the chance for success. Make those involved in making the plan happen feel ownership of the plan. 

Planning Requires The Proper Mind-set

Mind-set being defined as the proper mix of:

  • Perception
  • Perspective
  • Priorities

Before starting any plan make sure the participants have the right perception and perspective to get their support.

I have often heard, “Here we go again, wasting the next four weeks.” This is because those involved didn’t think management was serious about the objective or mission.

Priorities Make Plans Happen

A key role of the President is to:

  • Set priorities
  • Review priorities
  • Reorder priorities as needed
  • The planning exercise should not end with the plan.
  • Priorities need to be assigned to make the plan happen.
  • Accountability needs to be defined for those responsible to make the priorities happen.

The Plan Success Depends on Making the Elements Happen.”

The more detailed the plan, the easier it is to implement.  A famous football legend, Vince Lombardi, said, ‘Success depends on ‘blocking and tackling.” This is a good philosophy for a plan; by getting the participants at all level participating in the organization having tasks and responsibilities assigned to them.

The implementation of a plan is the really hard part and requires participation of all those involved.

A plan optimizes the utilization of time and resources, and is the base for making something happen in the most efficient manner.