John Lankford won the #1 award as the Associate Business Coach of the Year and since winning, he is asked, “What do successful businesses have in common?”

This is his response:

The sober reality is that most companies lack the mindset, the assets, and/or the appetite to devote to strategic planning. he answer starts with a commitment to evaluation.

Changing your results is predicated on strategic planning, operational planning, and performance management planning. Strategic planning is the roadmap to the future. It means revisiting your vision, mission, and values – in other words, your “rules of the game”. Strategic planning is about where you’re headed and what you will accomplish when you arrive.

The purpose of planning is not to produce results, but to align your executive team and set the long-term course. This dialogue is critical to help these senior leaders adapt, focus, and commit.

The operational plan is “how” you are going to implement the strategic plan. Under normal circumstances, the operational plan should be completed during the fourth quarter. Determining a matching budget and key performance indicators are also obligatory segments of a well-designed plan.

Once you’ve purposefully mapped out the next 3-5 years and have designed an operational plan that articulates HOW you are going to implement the strategic plan, teams and individuals must be made to understand their roles. Most organizations try to use their performance management system. Unfortunately, this is where the plan falls short. But all the planning in the world will go down the drain if no one can state the top three priorities they must accomplish every day and what the company’s top three priorities are for the year.

And finally, a reality check. The likelihood a company will achieve its strategic plan is in its review of the operational budget to determine whether the required funds for success are allocated.

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