If you're in the habit of setting an annual business plan, rolling that out at the start of the year and measuring how you did at the end, we have news for you; you are already planning to fail.
That’s not new news though because this approach will have failed this year, and last, and each year before. So why is it such common practice and what should be done instead?
Well firstly give yourself kudos for having a strategy and goals in the first place. According to research by DBM Consultants 77% of Australian businesses don’t even get that far, but does this actually give you a business advantage?
If you've set a clear direction and measures, the remaining challenges are communication and business agility. Annual review cycles (really any predetermined cycles at all) don’t cut it when it comes to this.
Imagine if you're dropped into a dense jungle with your team and you have a rough map of the terrain showing a) where you are now and b) when and where you need to be to get out.
Would you plot a path from point a) to point b) and blindly thrash through the jungle, staying on that course no matter what obstacles you encounter? That is the equivalent of your annual plan and your infrequent reviews.
Alternatively would you start by taking your best next step toward your goal, establish continuous updates from all the eyes and ears of your team, assess threats and opportunities and make adjustments in real time as your journey unfolds? As leader, would you wait until you reach point b) before commending your team, or would you use each step of the journey to inspire your team to go on and to take the next one?
In the jungle scenario continuous flow of information and real time status is the only way to succeed because in each moment and with each move we face the unknown.
The modern business landscape is no different to navigating through the jungle. Digital disruption means we cannot control the environment in which we operate, our range of vision is limited, and threats and opportunities can jump up in an instant.
This being the case, business processes that have built in latency such as annual, quarterly, even monthly reviews put you at a disadvantage by guaranteeing to slow down your reaction time.
If you only execute one strategy for 2017, make it to build lightning fast 2-way status reporting into your business so that you, your team and your business can thrive no matter what crops up moment by moment in the year ahead.
Our strategic planning tool www.goalhuddle.com is designed to help your business thrive in jungle conditions!
Talk to us about how we can help you meet your 2017 goals.