The Solution: Fix the Process + Fix the Plan
Fix the Process
An improved planning process requires some key components. The most important is having the CEO front-and-center for the process. The planning process cannot be delegated. Think more discussion vs. presentation. A timeline needs to be established upfront and then set in stone.
I typically recommend the following:
Month 1: Long-term review session kicked off by the CEO. The CEO must drive alignment around a small number of key strategies for the total company to address.
Months 2-4: Develop the objectives and strategies that align with the long-term goals.
Month 5: Finalize the strategic plan by key area.
Month 6: The CEO aligns with Board of Directors.
Fix the Plan
The critical measure to reinforce the “just right” attitude when preparing the annual plan, is to limit the final business plan to just 10 slides. It can be accomplished, and it does work.
Your annual operating plan can be distilled down to 10 key slides. These aren’t fluffy slides either. They require thought, debate and analysis to boil the information down to the key points.
Industry outlook for the next 3 years
Business unit mission, vision and values
Product & Pricing