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I spend a lot of time sitting in meetings where strategic planning is the conversation topic.  Almost every single of these meetings ends up having a laundry list of items that should be done.  The owner of the company wants to have everyone participate in making the company better.  Everyone gets a list of several items that are on their plate.

At the end of the year when we circle back and do a year in review we find that very little, if anything, has been accomplished that has added much value.  I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because we’re trying to get too many things done with too little time and resources.

Start with the realization that your staff is already busy.  In a small business we are always resource starved.  It’s just the way it is.  We don’t have thousands of people where we can steal two hours a week.  We have twenty people where we’re lucky if we can find thirty minutes per person.  This means that your company doesn’t have the time or capacity to take on lots of projects.

Having a big rock allows your people to focus on one thing at a time.  I love the metaphor of a big rock.  I can be rolling the rock up a hill, on flat land, or down a hill.  It really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that I’ve got one main project to focus on.  When I get a few minutes of free time I spend it on my big rock.  I don’t have to try to figure out what’s next because I already know.  I don’t have to go through my list of things to work on because there isn’t a list, there’s only one thing.

Big rocks allow for success.  When we have multiple strategic initiatives we have lots of things that get started, but nothing that gets finished.  Your people are frustrated and you likely are also.  Wouldn’t you like it if you felt good about what was being accomplished in your company?

Big rocks allow for focus.  When your people develop their big rocks they can always ask themselves how does this push the needle forward.  We always should have a big thing in our company we measure.  I call this a KPI (key performance indicator).  Big rocks help us move an important measurement such as cash or profit forward.  We know our initiatives mean something.  It also helps your employees and you to focus on the big rock and ask the question, “Does this really help us achieve something bigger in our company?” 

Big rocks allow you to ask better questions.  You know that you don’t have much free time.  Just think about how those who work for you feel.  When you assign three to five activities your employees must work on you are asking them to find several hours of free time per week.  We all know that those who work for us don’t have nearly that amount of time.  Instead, when we have one thing we’re working on we get to say, “This is important and will impact the company.”  A big rock requires focus which gets us better solutions to big problems.

Big Rocks are easy to understand.  Every time I use the term big rock everyone immediately knows what I’m talking about.  Goals and strategic initiatives are fuzzy terms.  We might have an idea of what they are, but we don’t know how to adopt these advanced concepts for ourselves.  When you use the term big rock it’s much easier coming up with a project that is a big thing for you.

When we make it easy for our people to be successful at what they do we help them become more productive and happier at their jobs.  Isn’t this something that you want for your company?  I know that when I made this switch life became much easier for me and those around me.

Going hand in hand with strategic planning is the budgeting process.  Just like with strategic planning we tend to make the budgeting process too complicated.  We have a special report on how to simplify the budgeting process and have it be more meaningful in your company.  If you would like a copy of this report, click on the button below.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: mission vision values and goals, value creation, goals, strategic planning

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