Planning

The whole planet knows to set a goal – make a plan – execute the plan…. yet, 85% of all businesses never do this! The right plan produces increased revenue, profit AND a higher performing culture . You must get this right!

SWOT

SWOT is a listing of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SWOT is a highly important working set of areas to constantly focus on…

  • Provides a reviewable (quarterly) set of items to ‘go work on’
  • ASK – do we need to do anything right now to – Protect a Strength – Eliminate a Weakness – Take Advantage of an Opportunity – Mitigate a Threat

Strengths – Usually Internal

  • ASK – What do we feel are the TOP 3-5 STRENGTHS the company has right now, those things that you do better than others and that your clients care about. Be specific, if you feel the TEAM is a strength, think about what is it ‘about’ the team that is the actual strength. If you feel TECHNOLOGY is a strength, think about what is it ‘about’ the technology that is the actual strength. Once you have these defined you’ll use this in review each quarter to ask – ‘Is there something this next quarter that we should do to ‘protect’ a strength?

Weaknesses – Usually Internal

  • ASK – What do we feel are the TOP 3-5 WEAKNESSES the company has right now, those things that are slowing down progress, creating issues or simply just need some attention. Be specific, if you feel SALES is a weakness, think about what is it ‘about’ the sales that is the actual weakness. If you feel LOCATION is a weakness, think about what is it ‘about’ the location that is the actual weakness. Once you have these defined you’ll use this in review each quarter asking – ‘Is there something this next quarter that we should do to ‘eliminate’ a weakness?

Opportunities – Usually External

  • ASK – What do we feel are the TOP 3-5 OPPORTUNITIES the company has right now, those things that if we took advantage of them we could wildly exceed our stated plan – those things that take time but too much time – ‘we could take advantage of these over the next 24 months’. Once you have these defined you’ll use this in review each quarter asking – ‘Is there something right now that we should do to ‘take advantage of’ an opportunity?

Threats – Usually External

  • What do we feel are the TOP 3-5 THREATS the company has right now, those things that we need to watch closely and mitigate as much as possible. Threats are things that could cause you to dramatically miss your revenue targets or even put you out of business. Once you have these defined you’ll use this in review each quarter asking – ‘Is there something right now that we should do to ‘mitigate’ a threat?

BHAG

According to Jim Collins, the Big Hairy Audacious Goal is a 10 to 30 year lofty goal that challenges you to greatness. A BHAG paints the long term vision…

  • President John F. Kennedy delivered a BHAG, to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, on May 25, 1961 before a joint session of Congress. In this speech, JFK stated that the United States should set a goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth by the end of the decade. This is arguably one of the most famous BHAG statements – not knowing how this would happen just making the statement that WE WILL do something audacious (not braggadocios) that creates an additional sense of purpose for the long haul and drives us all toward a common visionary outcome. Your BHAG should be a long term, 10-30 year, very big goal. It should be inspiring – just short of “save the planet from destruction” type of statement.

Brand Promise

The Brand Promise set is what matters most to your customers and differentiates you from the competition. A Brand Promise keeps you focused…

  • Examples of Strategic Anchors include: McDonalds – Speed, Consistency, Fun for Kids — Southwest Airlines – Low Fares, Lots of Flights, Lots of Fun
  • Notice, cleanliness isn’t listed for McDonalds – it was a differentiator early on, but now it’s considered a standard – what you need to just be in the game. The same with having low priced menu items. For Southwest Airlines, safety would be considered a standard. Two words that cannot be used – Quality and Value. Value is what you’re being asked to define – what are the three ways you’re more valuable to customers vs. your competitors. And Quality is defined as consistently delivering on your promises. You have high quality when you deliver, low quality when you don’t.

Top Priorities

Top Priorities define the most important few activities/actions/accomplishments that must be done to move the business through its stated targets (metric measures). Top Priorities are defined for the business as well as every team member…

  • Limit the number of initiatives to work on at one time – 3 to 5 only – never more than 5
  • Set priorities that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound)
  • Assign owners for each – someone who will ensure it gets done (they don’t have to do all the work)
  • Create a set of KPI’s – key performance indicators for each top priority

Sandbox

Sandbox is simply the area where you decide to focus your efforts in gaining new clients / revenue / profit. The Sandbox can be thought as your ideal client…

  • Gives direction to marketing and sales processes
  • Provides clarity as to where teams and individuals should focus their energies
  • Delivers clarity on who NOT to go after or do business with (which is just as important)