Planning business goals for the year ahead requires more than just planning; it’s also about execution.
The busy season is upon us once again and now is the time that many of us begin to plan New Year’s resolutions. Finally giving up – or at least limiting – alcohol is a common one. But that’s usually ignored sometime around mid January when we don’t want the holiday season to end. Losing a few kilos is also quickly forgotten as we try our best to not waste the leftover food from the obligatory feasts.
But while many occupy their time with resolutions at this time of year, the savviest of business owners are preparing to launch their annual strategic plan to take their pest management business forward on its growth path in the coming year. For forward-thinking owners and those aggressive about taking market share, December and January is the time of year when they are working on formulating what needs to happen in the next 12 months in order to be one step closer to achieving their long-term business plans.
And we’re not talking here about the common stereotype for business planning or strategic sessions. When most of us think of this we conjure up images of some boring process that results in a thick document that sits in a drawer and never gets looked at until around this time next year. That’s useless. That’s not execution – and execution is what is lacking from most strategic plans and businesses generally.
Why do most people fail at their New Year’s resolutions? The simple answer is they don’t have a framework from which to execute on their goal. There’s nothing to keep the momentum going, nothing to tell them whether they are on track, and no way to grasp where they’re headed to constantly remind them of why they are losing weight, or drinking less, etc. And it’s the same for business. Most companies amble along from year to year with no clear direction, just a means to pay the owner a wage and to keep some people employed in a job.
A case in point is an Australian team running a Hong Kong-based firm that I’ve assisted for the past 18 months. This was the exact case for them, as it is for many businesses. The directors and their staff turned up every day and went through the motions. There was no direction, little performance improvement, and firefighting for most of the day.
Fast forward to today and the managing director has just launched the team’s goals for the final quarter of 2017 at their company ‘town hall’ meeting and is already preparing for the annual strategic planning day for 2018. They have just had their best year on record and the directors are in far greater control of the organisation.
This is a stark contrast to last year where the business was run in a state of what could be called ‘controlled chaos’. There were no plans, no performance metrics, not even team meetings to share what was going on in the business. Today the directors are clearer on performance and company direction because their team has a framework from which to execute and achieve solid progress.
How many New Year’s resolutions could we actually achieve – instead of forget about – if we had an effective framework from which to execute them? And how much progress could be made in your pest management business in just one year if the right tools were used to better plan company direction, track performance, and define progress? A successful business will implement an execution framework that will survive longer than mid January when we reach for that cold beer on a hot summer’s day and blow our latest New Year’s resolution.
Chris Elder, Propeller Consulting Group