As companies grow, they often evolve into a Goals Based planning model. This model focuses on the major Opportunities and Challenges facing a company or organization. The Planning team begins by defining or revisiting the Vision, Mission and Core Values of the company.
Next, the team assesses all aspects of the company’s strengths and weaknesses especially as compared to the strengths of their competitors in the marketplace. In this phase, it is critical to gather as many facts as possible to confirm or refute the validity of the assessments being made.
The focus of the process then moves to the external environment in which the company operates- the markets, the customers, economic forces, governmental regulation, demographics and more. All are evaluated to identify the potential opportunities and the possible negative impacts that these forces will have on the company and its future growth.
Explicitly identifying and documenting the key assumptions that are being made in planning for the future of the company – its ideal customer, target markets and competitive advantage is a big part of this step.
Once all the analysis is completed, the planning team then begins to set goals and objectives that will address the opportunities and challenges identified in the previous steps. For each goal that is agreed upon, 3 additional items must be spelled out:
(1) Identify the action steps needed to reach the goal, including who will be responsible for executing this part of the plan and what resources are needed.
(2) Determine the strategies that will be employed in reaching the goal.
(3) Agree on the metrics that will be used to track and measure the company’s progress toward reaching the goal.
The last phase of process is documenting in writing all of the conclusions, assumptions, goals, objectives, action plans, and performance measures that have been developed. From this document the leaders can now outline a 12 month operational plan to be communicated to all employees.
Remember …… less is more. Having fewer goals but having them well defined and well executed is better than having many goals that are never realized
Each quarter the planning team should set aside a day to evaluate and measure progress against the goals, make any needed adjustments and set priorities for the next 3 months. Internally, the team must communicate the plan to all levels of the organization and assure that individual goals are aligned with the overall direction and strategies of the organization.