What’s the Plan?

It’s hard to believe we’re already into February of 2018! And my hunch? You’ve probably barely had a chance to reflect on the strategic plan for the year, let alone craft one. Entrepreneur’s, in particular, are loath to take time out to create, review or revise the plan and yet, always have enough time to do it over when things go badly. However, it’s never too late to take the smart path and spend some time thinking strategically and planning accordingly.

The entrepreneurial leader and his or her executive team should have created annual goals that align with the strategic vision and objectives. Employees should be clear how they can succeed towards those goals and their individual tasks. If these pieces aren’t in place and your team is not clear, you know it’s time to either make a plan or go back to the plan and make sure the leadership team understands what needs to be accomplished this year, broken down by quarter and month. Make sure the goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-based and time-bound). Set up how you will review results –  weekly? Monthly? In group meetings or in one-to-ones? Whatever you decide to do, put it on the calendar. Schedule it. If you don’t, the likelihood of it not happening increases exponentially.

If all of the above is done and the employees are still unclear, it’s likely that you have not communicated well to the team. They don’t know how what they are supposed to do connects to the Vision. That’s on the leader. Begin with the end in mind. Create a picture for the team of exactly what the vision is for the organization – what will it look like in three years? Who will they be serving and what will they be doing? Get as specific as you possibly can. However, be careful not to paint some grandiose, unachievable picture that no one believes in possible. As they say, you’ll be dead in the water if that happens. It can be a stretch, but the team must believe they can get there and that the plan is solid. Remember that if you were looking for financing or investors, they would want the exact same thing.

The leader’s executive team need to be fully on board and ready and willing to make changes where needed to help everyone succeed. This is where some entrepreneurs get into trouble, they think it’s all up to them. But if it is, there is one person in charge and a lonely leader instead of 2-8 people who are being paid to help lead. Entrepreneurs will not grow their organizations until and unless they give up the fantasy that they can do it all and still grow. They can do it all, but growth will be stagnant and limited.

So, carve out some time NOW. Pull out or start the plan. Reflect, revise and communicate it. Create the goals, set-up the review points then you and your team dig in and make it happen!