Why Your Plan Might Be Obsolete

geigerSomewhere, right now, your competition is getting ready to launch a new product. Nearby, a key prospect is having a change of heart. Everywhere all over the world right now, things are changing. Nothing ever stays the same, or even in the same place. In fact, the only thing that remains constant is change itself. 

So if change is continual, why would creating an annual plan ever be sufficient?

All our best plans are immediately out of date. And yet, the act of planning is essential to performance and success. Somehow we must find the right balance between planning and action. 

Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. -Dwight D. Eisenhower

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your goals, it’s your “how” that has to evolve. Both strategy and tactics must be continually updated. For any business, this means that key stakeholders must meet to review progress, the market, and the competitive landscape. Your leadership team needs to regularly create and revise priorities and strategy, or risk being outmaneuvered and become irrelevant. Every quarter, month, week, and each day. 

In reality, you can’t review all relevant information on the market as well as your performance, and manage to update plans daily. But you can make small adjustments each day, week, month, and quarter of the year. The key thing is getting your teams using proven rhythms and disciplines for planning and execution. 

At a bare minimum, you’ve got to do a mid-year plan update with your leadership team, over one or two days, offsite. Doing a plan update quarterly would be much better since most companies measure and report quarterly. In fact, the 13 weeks of a quarter is an ideal and well-tested length of time to keep a team focused on a few key priorities. 

Every week or two, you’ll need to check progress and create new actions. You’ll have new problems to solve every week. And each day you’ve got to huddle up with your teams, get in sync, and pick top priorities for the day. 

For companies not in the habit of doing mid-year planning updates, the biggest barrier tends to be scheduling and commitment. If you’ll stop now and pick a date for yours, it might actually happen, and it might make the difference between a good year or a great one.

We’ve got an online team assessment tool that will help you select areas to focus on.