Just like clockwork, when the first of the year rolls around, people start to think about Planning – both personal and for their business. While many try to get the jump on things in the fourth quarter, many don’t really get motivated to do it until they open up their new calendars. Is this bad? Is it timely? Is it too late?
Let me give you a very simple answer. It is NEVER too late to do planning. It is ALWAYS better to start than to think you missed the window and wait. So the rule to never forget – when in doubt, PLAN!!
I just read an article by Gladys Edmunds in USA Today about planning and it made me want to share it with you with one addition to what she is saying. Her article, “Here’s a Mission for you – Make a Great Statement,” talks about the importance of having a crisp and clear Mission Statement. She gives a couple of good examples and shares some experiences on companies that don’t even have one, whether it is a good one or not. I completely agree – a Mission Statement is important for any organization.
However, it is only one piece to the puzzle. The Mission is simply your statement of what you are going to do over XXX years to help you achieve your Vision, guided by your Values. In essence, it falls out of your Vision. The key to a Mission statement is that it helps put some framework around your ability to create Strategic Goals and subsequently Actions to achieve these goals. So is a Mission Statement important? Absolutely, but just as important as the other components of planning.
OK, now here is where I extend the conversation. Planning WITHOUT ACTION is a waste of time. The best developed plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on if there isn’t a steady, consistent focus by top management (yes, the CEO and President) to make sure it gets implemented and action occurs. I know, this sounds pretty basic. But I have to tell you that in my 15 years of doing strategic planning for companies, I see a number of them never get implemented – how sad. There is such great thinking and great ideas developed by some incredibly bright people that never see the light of day because they don’t move beyond the planning stage.
So my piece of advice for the new year is simple. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN – just make sure you IMPLEMENT the plan so you can celebrate all your hard work and efforts. And remember, “celebrate the little things because they always add up to something great when you do.”
Happy New Year,