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Why Plan?

Typical planning triggers

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Our customers are corporate officers who have accepted responsibility for planning and managing the growth of their business. We assist these officers and their management teams to achieve consensus on strategy, with implementation on time.

Corporate officers wear many hats. The obvious one is the functional responsibilities which they are assigned. A VP of Operations manages production or sevice delivery. A VP of Sales and/or Marketing manages the business front end, getting the product aligned with customer needs and bringing in the revenue. A VP of Finance proactively manages the financial health of the business, making or consulting on tradeoff decisions regarding growth investments, profitability, and timely application of the right financial and human resources. The same for HR, CIO, BizDev. Every officer has an operational portfolio of responsibilities to manage proactively. Even the CEO, who theoretically manages the whole company, gets trapped into being the chief salesman/woman, or the top dog for creating strategic alliances, or chief firefighter.

Operational responsibilities press onto corporate officers, begging for time and attention. But these aren’t the only jobs of a corporate officer.

There is very little external pressure to think about the groupfuture, to plan for the future, or to implement those plans. Those pressures must come from within, from the deep knowledge that planning is important; that we are victims of our business environment unless we proactively manage growth; and that finding the time to create the business of the future is a part of the job.

Everyone plans for a different reason. We think there is one best reason to plan, some great ones, and a typical one. Here they are:

The Best Reason to Plan
• Leveraging and focusing your human capital, the most expensive resource a business can deploy

Some Great Reasons to Plan
• Competition has intensified
• New product development has slowed or the success rate is tanking
• Customer or consumer needs are changing
• You distribute through a big-box retailer
• Private label threats
• Organization silos proliferate
• Internal processes are broken
• You may have breakthrough technology or processes
• New folks have joined the management team, and want to add their expertise to plans already in place
• The bank is tightening debt covenants or getting nervous about your credit line
• Distribution channels are consolidating, or distributors are rationalizing their lines
• Margin pressures are severe
• It’s hard to find the “right” talent
• One big, hairy audacious issue presents itself
• High employee turnover
• Shareholders are uneasy
• The board is considering an engagement with McKinsey, Bain or BCG
• You’re attempting too much, too soon, without sufficient resources

The Most Typical Reason to Plan
• The annual planning cycle comes around again

In Summary
No corporate officer can spend all their time on planning. It would not be productive. But every corporate officer must spend some time thinking and planning for the future. It’s part of the job. And it’s the part that doesn’t come with pressures to make it happen. That initiative must come from within. And it's better done as a team.

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