Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Long Range Planning an Essential Ongoing Process for Businesses / Overview

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The beginning of the planning process is either the beginning of positive organization change and continuous achievement or a frustrating process which ultimately lowers expectations when nothing happens.  I say this because the first planning cycle sets up a perpetuation process for subsequent years when done properly.  This process allows leadership to work on their business rather than in there business.  It is very different than the day to day activities one experiences in job performance.  It is a process that does not normally take place because of a fear or lack of knowledge as how to proceed or perhaps a past unsuccessful planning retreat.

I will share with you a process which I have developed through many years of consulting with small and medium sized companies- many who had never conducted a long range planning retreat before.  You will see how to engage an organization, get them enthusiastically behind your long term goals from the formulation of goals through the development of action plans to achievement and the implementation of plans.

The outcomes of a successful planning process are:

  • Three year goals in:  Gross Sales, Gross Profit, Gross Margin, Staffing (people by position i.e. sales, management, executive), Capital Improvements, Key Clients
  • Major Programs: 3-5 key action items if accomplished in the first year would have the greatest impact on goal achievement
  • A communication plan from the beginning of the planning process and regular feedback on program and goal achievement progress involving all stakeholders
  • Quarterly management meeting focused solely on monitoring progress of program and goal achievement
  • A key person to lead each major program adopted in the planning retreat
  • Set dates to develop goals and programs for the second planning retreat
  • Agreed upon mission and vision (who are now and ultimately)
  • Engagement of every person in the organization in planning, communication and feedback process (you will see how this is accomplished from the very beginning)

 

Plans do not get successfully implemented unless there is buy-in from the very early stages of the process.  You will observe that the engagement of the total organization occurs from day you announce your intentions and involve the organization.  Involvement = Engagement / Buy-in = Goal Achievement via Plan Implementation

The planning process begins with an introspective look at how things are done now and ultimately the identification of strengths which can be used as a competitive advantage (opportunities) and concerns or weaknesses that are not shored up can be a (threat) or area of competitive vulnerability.  There must be a willingness on the part of ownership and management to undergo the review process that surfaces the threats and opportunities.  Finally, management needs to be willing to share meaningful numbers without sharing salaries or profits.  Reveal the numbers that employees can influence.

Now that you know your potential outcomes and what information you may need to provide the participants, we need to develop the planning retreat process.  I will divide the retreat process into sections: Preparation, Conducting the Retreat, Communication of Retreat Results and Ongoing Engagement and the Feedback Process to chart progress.

For the complete article on: “Conducting A Long Range Planning Retreat” email

bclinton@business-wise.com and request Long Range Planning Article.

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