What’s ahead for our businesses is often the most exciting and sometimes concerning question we must answer.

Almost all companies have a strategic plan that extends for at least one year into the future, and many make mistakes with their plan. Companies can spend thousands of dollars building these plans with the help of large and small teams and all types of 3rd party support. With all that time and effort, you would think the plans would be close to perfect.

The truth is the statistics show around 75% of these plans fail to yield the results that were expected.

Repeat that with 3 out of 4 plans fail to reach expectations. We need to do better than that. Let’s discuss some mistakes to avoid and also some opportunities to capitalize on for success.

First, let’s look at three common mistakes.

1. Not involving the key leaders, We at times will look at too small of a group when planning. For example, just the CEO and CFO build the plan and then hand out the plan to the rest of the leadership team to follow. This leads to a lack of buy-in, and at first sign of plan challenges/failure hands go up and the common “this was not my plan” is heard.

2. Not thinking big enough, We often will limit goals based on current capacity or past performance and allow that to hold back the real growth we are capable of and can achieve. We need to ask instead what our opportunity is if we could capture it.

3. Not building accountability into the plan Allowing the planning day to then water down during the year with only one or two check-ins is a prevalent mistake. Losing traction on your plan by not building it into the core of the weekly or monthly business activity is almost guaranteed failure.

At The Growth Factory, we implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) with our clients to maximize their business performance. The EOS system removes the three mistakes we listed and many others by utilizing a process to ensure the highest success rate for attaining goals. Here we will focus on four items that make EOS work effectively for so many. Each item requires hard work and follow through to achieve success.

1. Know your key measurables What are the real necessary actions/activities that can predict and lead to the ongoing growth and profitability of your business? It takes some time working on these to understand the right ones that drive sustainable results. Once we know them, we are in control of our business.

2. Let the process create priorities. This will eliminate wasted effort and team members chasing pet projects or priorities, not 100% aligned with the goals. When we are laser-focused with our goals, then every action is easy to follow and understand.

3. The plan evolves through the year Change is inevitable, and our process needs to be able to adapt to it. If the plan cannot overcome changes in market and competition, we will leave upside on the table or give up too quickly when challenged by adversity. Our plan must move with the conditions and adjust priorities every 90 days to maximize performance. These 90-day buckets then move into weekly accountable actions to keep our goals on track and easy to measure. This does not mean we lower goals, but instead, we will overcome obstacles to drive the performance of the team. We must have 90-day course corrections.

4. Focus Focus Focus Less is more in the world of strategic planning and goal setting. Too many businesses set out to accomplish say 25 objectives in their plan and make some progress on 10 but complete fully close to none. This creates a loss of positive momentum for the team and a sense of defeat. The snowball effect of completing 3-7 objectives 100% and building on them leads to exponential change in performance. We want to focus on 3-7 things to get them done, and then tackle the next objectives.

These concepts appear straightforward, but as we all know, the great businesses are separated from the average by accomplishing their plans consistently year after year. So whether you take this on with your team alone or use a resource to help create your plan. Take the time to understand your business and drive results without chasing distractions, and 2020 may just be your best year ever.

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