Crippling Habit 4:
Planning in Lieu of Action
If only I had a nickel for every time I heard one of the following: “That’s not in the plan.” “We missed the plan and need a revised forecast.” When companies don’t meet their profit objectives quarter after quarter, all too often everyone eventually blames the plan. Leaders then blame the employees and downsize the company. It’s a vicious, disastrous, and expensive cycle.
The problem is that companies too often don’t invest an equal amount of time, energy, and resources on achieving the results the plan targets. Instead they go through several quarters before realizing that they’re not achieving the results they’d planned for, and so they say, “Let’s revise the plan again.”
The most effective plans are those with specific, measurable goals that are evaluated monthly. Long-range plans covering three to years are useful for setting and communicating direction and should be restricted to senior management. Short-range plans covering twelve to eighteen months are what leaders need most to remain on course and manage results.
Plans and associated measurements must focus on simple to articulate goals owned by specific people. The measurement system has to be visible weekly, or in some cases even daily, so that everyone knows the results and understands the deviations. When deviations occur—and they will—a company must act immediately to remedy the situation. Problems never get better without action. They only grow worse.
Join us next week when Bob discusses Crippling Habit 5: Aversion to Risk and Change
Bob Prosen is president and CEO of The Prosen Center for Business Advancement®, where he teaches business leaders how to rapidly increase performance and profits. He is listed in The International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs. Visit his website at www.bobprosen.com.
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