Identify Strategic Priorities with a 2020 Plan

As a CEO, how does your plan look for 2020? “Pretty good”, many people say. “It’s a work in progress”, say others. “It’s only November, we’ll get to it next month”, say a few procrastinators. All lies! These are self-delusions that completely make sense to entrepreneurs because they are big picture thinkers, the ones with the vision. Entrepreneurs are not planners.

Let’s back up a moment and talk about 2019. How is your company’s performance tracking according to your plan? Are you making your numbers? Are you achieving your goals based on the priorities you set, like that new marketing plan, CRM implementation, or opening that new location? Is your strategy one more year closer to becoming a reality? You did set 2019 annual priorities, didn’t you?

What about your progress toward your 3-year strategic priorities? Did you carve out time in 2019 on tasks and projects that would make your grander vision possible (beyond just selling more and ramping up production)?

No matter your answers above, no matter how awesome or anemic they are, now is the time to upgrade your strategic planning as we head into 2020. As you know, repeating the same actions while expecting different results is insanity. So, what are you going to do differently for next year? Spoiler alert: You will likely ignore everything I recommend here and just hope for the best, creating similar results to 2019. If that’s you and you want to break the cycle, please schedule a phone call with me or an Assured Strategy coach who can help you think differently.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Make sure your core values, core purpose and BHAG are all strong and well-communicated inside the company.
  2. Create a clear picture of what the business looks like 3 years from now. How much revenue? How much profit? How much cash in the bank? How many widgets will you sell?
  3. Describe the future you envision in one sentence, without using numbers. Ideally this would be a milestone on the way to your BHAG. If it’s not, you probably need to rethink both.
  4. What’s the number one capability you must have in three years that you don’t have now. That’s your #1 strategic priority. What’s #2? What’s #3? If you are successful creating these capabilities, will they get you to the 3-year numbers described in your answers to question 2 above?
  5. Now zoom in to 2020. What’s your revenue goal? Profit? Cash in bank? Widgets sold?
  6. What’s the #1 thing you must accomplish in the year? Don’t fall into the trap and say, “Grow sales 20%”. That’s already covered in your metrics on the previous step. What we’re looking for here is an action.
  7. Once again zoom in to Q1 and repeat steps 5 & 6 to start mapping out your quarterly plan.

Ask yourself what will it really take to instill this level of discipline before 2019 ends? Be honest.

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