Posts Tagged ‘critical success factors’

Dust Covered Strategic Plans Reveal Failed Leadership

The thick dust on most strategic plans is quite common.  Even though strategic plans are a valuable tool for SMB owners, executives and even salespeople, they continue to be filed on shelves collecting dust. Then executive leadership appears to be suddenly confused because results are not being achieved.

Now many SMBs don’t have these forward thinking documents and retreat to some isolated bogus marketing plan which usually ends up creating more misguided decisions resulting in more misdirection. Their excuse is usually “I don’t have time” or “I don’t need one.”

What these leaders fail to realize is the wisdom in the words of President Eisenhower “Plans are worthless, planning is everything.”  The act of planning through intensive thinking provides a competitive advantage because the majority of the competition has also refused to engage in this important act of strategic planning.

What also happens is executive leadership looks for the quick fix to have some outside consulting firm do a survey or a “town hall” meeting. Having this input is part strategic planning process, but should not be the first step.

The first step in creating strategic plans is looking at the goals or results achieved.  Then internal assessments are undertaken. After the values and the vision statements are constructed, the mission statement is created along with the critical success factors or critical goal categories.  Unfortunately some in leadership roles jump to critical success factors that only create more misaligned actions and become an abdication excuse for leadership when results do not materialize.

Dust covered strategic plans reflect a lack of commitment to make real change, to reach higher and achieve what is necessary to stay a viable and thriving businesses. As one of my coaches David Herdlinger said:

“If you don’t have the time to do it right,

when will you have the time to do it over?”

Schedule a time to speak with Leanne about how strategic planning can help your SMB achieve its desired results by CLICKING HERE.



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The Simplicity of Business Growth through the Power of Three – Part 2

After simplifying the various stages of business growth into just three stages through the power of three, then it is time to examine how to further simplify the strategic planning process.

power -of-three

Many executive consultants to small business coaches will discuss “critical goal categories” or “critical success factors.” These categories or factors may be simply defined as “what is necessary and sufficient to achieve the mission or current goals” for the enterprise.

Recently when reviewing many of the strategic plans of my clients, I realized once again the power of three even though in past years I had written about the Top 7 Critical Goal Categories. For all of the various identified critical success factors could be placed into one of these three categories:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Profits

The power of three allows simplification and thus frees up time that can be better invested in detailing the action steps to identifying Strengths, Limitations, Opportunities, or Threats (SLOT) to  executing the plan.

Running a small business from the strategic planning process to the day to day operations can become very complicated. By embracing the power of three attitude, allows the opportunity to shed some of those complexities and affords you additional time to do what you do best.

If you want to further your competitive advantage, this webinar – LinkedIn Contacts Your Competitive Advantage – on Thursday, June 27 from 10-11 am might be of interest to you.  At an affordable $9.97 and just 60 minutes of your time, you will learn not only about this recent update, but some other tips to have you standing out as the Red Jacket and not just another gray suit.  Register here.

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Small Business Profits From A Different Perspective

Recently, Jeff Bezos’, Amazon CEO, published his letter to Amazon’s shareholders.  This is a good read especially from a small business profits perspective. Bezos wrote:

small-business-profits“… as I frequently quote famed investor Benjamin Graham in our employee all-hands meetings – “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.” We don’t celebrate a 10% increase in the stock price like we celebrate excellent customer experience. We aren’t 10% smarter when that happens and conversely aren’t 10% dumber when the stock goes the other way. We want to be weighed, and we’re always working to build a heavier company. …”

So what makes a heavier company versus a lighter one is the question?

My sense is a heavier company looks to the future by building a stronger foundation and that may require lesser profits one year. Such a perspective demands small business profits to be an integrated functionality of all operations and not just from a profit and loss statement.

What would happen if small business profits were separated into these 3 critical goal categories or critical success factors  areas:

  • People?
  • Process?
  • Profit?

Each category would be responsible for a different element respective to small business profits. For example under People, there might be:

  • Competitive differentiators – What makes us different from our competitors?
  • Culture – How does our culture encourage our small business profits?
  • Enterprise Connectivity – How will does our small business interconnect with other departments?
  • Strategic Allies – Who can we unite with to leverage our profitability?

Bezos’ letter is a challenge to all in business leadership roles  to begin to think differently about small business profits. And he makes a great case for the establishment of a profit model design that works with each different stage of business growth.  As in other aspects of our lives, one size, in this case profit model, does not fit all.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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