Markets change constantly and plans quickly go out of date. If you can adapt more quickly than competitors to both opportunities and threats, you gain significant competitive advantage.
It is the planning process (rather than the plan itself) which helps you to respond quickly, because you have already considered various scenarios and know which is likely to be best in the new circumstances, or which can be adapted most readily, at least.
You need to see your whole plan at a glance.
Your business is an organism – action in any of your key functions will have major effects on the others. So you need a plan which allows you to:
- See all functions at once – side by side and in the context of the market.
- Work backwards from where you want to be, to where you are now, and see the steps needed in between. This also shows you where the steps are unrealistic within the time-frame, so you can amend them.
- Do “What if” analysis of options and assess potential pitfalls and risks.
- Decide what you should focus upon in the coming year.
- Monitor how it is working. Pick a few telling metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) across all functions and make sure that these include “lead” indicators that signal problems in time for you to take action. Read more…
When the unexpected happens:
You need to capitalise on the unexpected, because the chances are that competitors have been caught on the hop too, and you may well be able to establish a strong niche if you move quickly. Your at-a-glance plan allows you to revise things very rapidly and take advantage of an opportunity, or deal with a threat, in an organised, integrated way. This gives you confidence – and minimises stress for your whole team, so they are in better shape to implement the plan that you develop together.