The Best Time to Plan? NOW!

Someone one asked, “if you wanted to plant an oak tree, when would be the best time?”. I guess it depends on whether you like oak trees but assuming you enjoy the shade and beauty of the magnificent oak, the best time was 20 years ago so that today you could be enjoying both. “So when is the second best time?” NOW.

Why? If you haven’t started to make something great happen, it won’t happen until you start. Plant the tree. Or, in this blog, start a plan.

Interestingly, most people start their plans in the fall. They usually are driven by the reminder of the end of year budgeting process that it is time to start thinking about what lies ahead. That often means, “what are we going to do next year?” That is a question that must be answered but for most, the plan is an operational plan to increase sales of a product, redesign a package, install some new software or hire a few people. Very important–but not an oak tree.

What I mean is, they aren’t bad things to do but they may or may not be the best things to do. If you don’t know where you want to be in 3 to 5 years, how can the one-off decisions get you anywhere much different from where you are today?

Yeah, but who wants to wait for the oak tree to grow to get shade? No one. The good news is that with a solid plan, you reap immediate rewards. Here are a few:
1. A Strategic Plan helps exeuctives make fewer, quicker decisions better. They know instantly what is worth spending time on and what is outside strategy. In addition, they know what to look for to evaluate the decisions they do make so they can progress more quickly.
2. Organizational clarity that comes from a plan can be immediate and the benefits significant. With the leadership team on the same page, mutual support, understanding and communication improves. Several clients have reported this was the single most important benefit to their organization–they could manage a team, not individuals; and the team knew what had to be done and worked togther to make it happen. Things run smoother and faster with better results. One client reported saving a full month off of the budgeting process since everyone knew the priorities. What could you do with a month of leadership time?
3. Since the plan is driving an aligned direction, decisions aren’t one- off any longer and companies tend to reap synergistic benefits, or greater results for each decision.
4. Companies with clarity about where they are going, and an engaged leadership team, attract better hires.
5. Oh yeah, and growth is accelerated as the plan provides a clear focus on the best opportunities which are supported with appropriate resources.

Still thinking plans should be put off? A great plan can help you do what you are already doing—but better. Start your plan NOW!

We would like to hear what you think the benefits of a plan are –short term not just long term. Keep in mind we help companies develop customized plans that reflect their organizational needs. Reynolds Consulting also offers a Strategic Plan Workbook that can get your team started without an outside facilitator if you prefer. Click here for more information.

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