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Never Underestimate the Power of Planning

Tom and I met at a Sushi restaurant yesterday, something we’ve done once or twice a year since I consulted with his company on sales/marketing and planning several years ago.   Tom is his company’s VP of Operations, and we try to meet regularly to discuss the company’s progress, but we had not had a meaningful discussion in nine months.

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Two years ago I moderated their sales and marketing plan.  The end result was a full Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) assessment, a plan with Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics, etc.  As we started in on our pot sticker shrimp appetizer, I handed over the planning document and asked him, “Well, will you make the $X Million product goal for Z Product and $X Million for Y Product this year, as set out in the plan?” 

He smiled as he took the document, looked at the goals and said, “Yes, we will make these numbers.”  He beamed, and then looked more deeply into the plan. 

As he flipped through the pages he said, “Of course we worked the plan in the months after the planning meeting, but the review meetings faded away as everyone got busy.  Yet, as I look through the tactics, I see that even without the review meetings most of it got done, and here we are at the two-year mark having made goal. That’s neat.”

I chalked it up to an example of the power of positive thinking and putting that thinking down on paper.  It’s the power of getting a team to think together and explore the company’s strengths and weaknesses, while identifying opportunities and threats.  It’s the power of creating goals, objectives and plans to accomplish it all, with assigned tactics and dates for completion. 

Having review meetings is helpful, but it’s the thinking and the recording that make a difference.   It’s having tactical assignments along with corresponding dates and the names of those who are responsible that makes it work.   It’s the power of team thinking.  

But ultimately, Tom and I agreed, it’s the power of planning.  Try it some time.  Tom is very satisfied with what they accomplished.

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