Planning for 2017

I spent yesterday afternoon running a strategy workshop for a client of ours. They’re a successful, growing business with 8 people. I sit on their Board as a Non-Executive Director. They had a good 2016 and want to build on that in 2017.

After I’d laid out the structure for the day and outlined the ground rules, the MD then shared his targets for the business for the year ahead. That led to a discussion, probing him to get more detail around a few specifics.

Next we got the post-it notes out and started to write down all of the things we could think of that could possibly stop us achieving those goals. We went through each one, discussed it, and considered what we needed to do to avoid that happening.

We also reflected back on 2016 and asked a couple of questions – what should we stop doing, and what should we do more of / could we do better. Really good questions that got into the heart of operation of the business.

This led neatly into our final session, in which, starting with Q4 and working back to Q1, we set out targets and objectives that we would have to have met if we were to meet the big goals for the year. We also discussed and agreed how we would measure performance so that we could report on progress at each of our monthly board meetings.

We closed out the afternoon by setting our Board Meeting dates for the next six months.

This is a process that we’ve gone through with many of our clients, and monthly board meetings are a feature of the kind of governance that we help provide. I tend Chair these meetings.

In my experience, and I’ve been doing this for almost 25 years now, this kind of planning and governance is essential in a growing business. However, many of the businesses I meet don’t do this – they simply turn up and hope that things will go well. That’s not a recipe for success.

I’m interested to know what you do in your business. Do you have a plan? Do you discuss strategy? Do you hold board meetings? Let me know!

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