Pre-plan your plan…yes really!

In my last post I talked about the strategic planning cycle and its importance as a framework or system for creating and achieving your annual strategy plan.

There is actually a pre-plan stage that, if you’re approaching the start of your fourth quarter, you should think about now.

As you may know the first phase of the strategic planning cycle begins in the fourth quarter of your business cycle. Basically, you want to start your new business year with your new annual strategy in place, hence you begin working on the plan in Q4.

Creating this plan involves the first two strategic planning phases; the Think and Plan phases, out of which should be a new strategy plan with a set of goals broken down into objectives and tactics.

So, what’s the pre-plan stage? Well, the new plan is going to need time and effort to create and this also needs to be planned.

If you are going to bring together a team of people to help you then they need to be prepped and their time arranged. If you’re going to create this plan on your own then you still need to set aside the not inconsiderable time you’ll need to create this plan.

Whether on your own or as part of a team, this effort to create your new plan will impact the day-to-day running of the business.

Help yourself and your team and work with them to minimise this impact.

  • Set diaries in advance so that projects, targets and holidays in Q4 are taken into account and everyone will be available when needed;
  • Make sure your team knows the strategic planning steps that should be followed when creating a new plan so that they see the work involved and the parts they will play;
  • Give detailed briefs and guidance on the role of each person and your expectations;
  • To set where you want the business to be you need to know where you are. Make sure as you approach Q4, that each team member knows what information they will be responsible for gathering;
  • Outline your keys aims for the next business year so they can begin thinking about the kinds of goals that need to be set, how they should be executed, the impact on the business and where responsibilities will lie.

With this pre-planning stage in place and everyone ready to begin in Q4, the new strategy plan should be created on time, before the end of the year, and with minimum impact to the running of the business and to day-to-day responsibilities.

And with the appropriate time and attitude towards the exercise given, the quality of the plan will also be higher as will the return for your business.