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Planning On Success

Anchor facilitates strategic and operational business planning for clients.

Planning is an aspect of corporate management that charts a course to a specific destination. The resulting “map” shows the company how to navigate correctly through the stormy waters of business, rather than going off course due to the unpredictable tides of business.

To engage successfully in planning, everyone on the journey must be willing to take responsibility for their actions (or their lack of action). Planning allows a business to develop a strategy that addresses all probable eventualities (whether they are expected or unforeseen). It helps to determine the actions necessary to reach goals and to avoid or overcome obstacles. Proper planning consists of three distinct stages:

  1. The planning process
  2. Plan presentation and agreement
  3. Plan implementation and management

The Planning Process

This is a sequence of activities that involves key stakeholders in the company.
This process requires:

  1. Skills to gather and analyze information
  2. Strategic thinking and experience
  3. Confident decision making

A series of questions is used to help clarify:

  1. The company’s present situation
  2. The desired future
  3. The means to obtain this future
  4. The systems of accountability necessary to track and sustain progress

As a company moves through the planning process, its leadership analyzes the possible outcomes of different courses of action. This is healthy, forcing decision makers to reevaluate and clearly define the organization’s core values, purposes and priorities.

Facilitation

Facilitating the planning process requires expertise in both the financial aspects of business and the planning process itself. Since objectivity is also important, a third-party facilitator can be very valuable. This is where Anchor comes in. Anchor’s experienced facilitators allow stakeholders – including company leadership – to act as a resource rather than simply as decision makers. This promotes cooperation and encourages all members of the planning team to provide input. In addition, a third-party facilitator helps to develop a common agreement on corporate direction and buy-in from stakeholders.

The Plan Presentation

The plan itself is a written summary of the planning process. Its foundation is a clear statement of the goals and strategies that a company decides to pursue. It spells out the time, resources and action steps necessary to achieve those goals. This written plan allows everyone involved (from management to employees) to understand the company goals. It can be used later as a standard for reviewing performance. Just as the planning process is the catalyst for considering the future, the written plan itself can serve as an important barometer of success.

Operational Planning follows strategic planning and focuses on short-term goals. Operational Plans (sometimes referred to as Annual Plans) advance the strategies and growth objectives of the long- term strategic plan by including direction at the departmental level. Operational Plans include:

  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Measurable goals
  • Tactics to achieve goals
  • Action Timeline
  • Budget

Planning, done every year, allows a company to sharpen and renew its focus. Done correctly, it helps to make course corrections and clarify the long-term direction of the company, including such considerations as business strategies, tactics and growth milestones.

The Advantage Of Good PlanningGraphic11-01

A Strategic Plan results in an agreed-upon destination, a chart to get there and clear responsibilities assigned to crew members. Everyone is on the same page, headed in the same direction, pulling the oars in harmony. The company shares agreed-upon goals, assignments, responsibilities and measurements that serve as waypoints for progress.

Implementation And Ongoing Management

Once the plan is in place, ongoing meetings are held to measure progress. During meetings, everyone has an opportunity to report on the measurements they are responsible for. New goals are set at each meeting for continuous improvement, and ideas are shared to help develop new tactics. Want to learn more about how Anchor can help your company with business planning? Contact us today.