I’ve been spending my time in January helping people achieve clarity in three things: their business, themselves and the important people and things in their lives.
It’s a great process which helps you kick off 2018 positively, with some measurable goals to achieve by the end of the year and some goals for your first quarter. It involves you thinking strategically.
Your Business Planning is Different
First you need to have your annual business strategy clear in your head, checking to see that it aligns with your three year strategy and ultimately, your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).
Time to Plan and Execute
Planning, by contrast, requires you to stop thinking strategically and start planning for execution, using your strategies to guide your actions. Now that we are in February – it’s the time to plan! Execution planning put simply is planning your actions so that you reach your outcomes. To keep you on track, I’ve outlined a simple three stage process to help you turn strategy into an action plan.
Stage One – Plan
This requires you to break down your yearly goals and outline what you want to accomplish in your first quarter. To have a great year, you need to launch from a strong platform. Building a strong first quarter plan is essential.
Stage Two – Create Urgency
Each quarter has a limited amount of time to achieve what you want – only 13 weeks! It’s a sprint, not a marathon, there simply isn’t enough time to catch up if you’re slow out of the starting blocks. Your job is to create urgency by developing a fast paced race plan.
Stage Three – Be Proactive
Conduct weekly management meetings where you track your progress and results. An easy way to track how you are performing is to colour code each task.
- Green: we’ve accomplished what we needed to
- Yellow: we’re nearly there, but we need to pay some attention to bottlenecks
- Red: we need to focus our attention and resources to get us back on the green track
This process gives you the agile and iterative advantage of always moving forward, always being responsive, and being flexible to the circumstances. Having a weekly review, and not allowing yourself to make excuses when you stray from the plan, will ensure a strong start to your year.
While we are at it, it’s good to remember that there’s a big side benefit to strong execution – proper execution improves profitability. Yes, I am talking Net Profit improvements when you become excellent at execution.
So, if you need help preparing for your strong start in 2018, follow these three steps to get a head start on your year ahead. The earlier you start, the better your year will be!