In our book, “Conquer the Chaos,” Scott and I write about the chaos that is created when an entrepreneur goes into business. The fact is, business is dynamic, constantly moving, which creates chaos and confusion. The strategy planning process is intended to examine the chaos and confusion and turn it into clarity and confidence.
As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, my team and I were engaged in our quarterly offsite planning over the last couple days. It was one of our most effective offsites ever, and that’s saying something because we’ve done this for more than 50 consecutive quarters. We came away with clarity and confidence, which are critical success factors for any business. Simply put, when business owners operate with clarity and confidence, the likelihood of success skyrockets.
So, how do we transform chaos and confusion to clarity and confidence? How can you apply the strategy planning process to your business? We teach all about this in Elite Forum, but let me give you three guiding principles that will significantly help you if you feel like you’re slogging through the business, lacking the clarity and confidence you need to succeed.
- Establish a planning rhythm. For businesses with two to 25 employees, I recommend a two-day annual offsite, a one-day quarterly offsite and half-day monthly meeting, as well as a weekly staff meeting and one five to 15-minute daily, standing huddle. You might look at this as a lot of overhead and think this is too much time to spend on planning, but I assure you that you and your people are spending much more time than this throughout the quarter, slogging through confusion. You can choose to invest this recommended time or spend a lot more time spinning your wheels.
- Create your game plan. Ideally, the game plan will be a three to five year mission, grounded in your company’s purpose and core values. Your game plan must have a set of goals (three to five) that your whole team understands, agrees and commits to. Finally, you need to determine how you’re going to achieve those goals by focusing the company on a handful of strategies and priorities that will stack the deck in your favor as you strive to achieve your goals. So, the elements of a great game plan are: a) your high-level purpose, values, and mission; b) a shared set of three to five company goals; and c) the strategies and priorities that will help you achieve your goal.
- Review and adjust your game plan. As you go through the planning rhythm, your meetings are about evaluating progress, adjusting where necessary, focusing on your strengths and accomplishments, doubling down in those areas and abandoning tactics that aren’t working to divert resources to what is working. Your exercises should review accomplishments, list the lessons learned during the quarter, call out current critical issues, and build trust in the team to tackle the issues of the day. Evaluate, focus, and build team unity as you create clarity and confidence in your game plan.
We’ve been practicing and teaching this method for many years—it flat-out works. I wish every business owner would practice some version of this because it creates clarity, alignment, and confidence for everyone involved in the business.
SBS Idea of the Day: if you don’t have a straight-forward, one-page game plan for your business, create one. The best book I can offer on the subject is Jim Collins’ “Beyond Entrepreneurship” (BTW, I’m helping Jim re-write that book as we speak—pretty fun stuff!). If you want more help than a book will provide and you’re approaching or you’ve exceeded $1 million in annual revenue, look into our Elite Forum program at eliteforum.infusionsoft.com.