Back in the 80’s at the end of most episodes of the A Team©, Hannibal Smith would utter that famous line… I love it when a plan comes together! We were never quite sure if he knew it all along or was in fact pleasantly surprised by their success.
Having just competed Annual Planning with most of my clients it has been so great to see leadership teams walk out 100% on the same page for where they are going, and confident they know exactly what needs to happen to get there. But on the other hand, sometimes when I ask leaders and business owners, so what does next year’s plan look like, I get these vague answers … “well we hope a little better than last year”. Clearly not the same confidence and enthusiasm.
There is a sharp contrast here and having seen it now for several years in a row, it is so powerful and so simple. In the EOS® Process all of our clients use a tool called the Vision/Traction Organizer, or V/TO™. This simple tool does several things, first it defines the soul of the organization; its Core Values, Purpose and Niche’. Then we identify a bigger-than-life target out on the horizon that unifies everyone towards the big goal. Most select 10 years out so we call it their 10 Year Target™. We then start bringing it into focus by creating their 3-Year Picture™. We simply need to paint a picture of what the organization will look like three short years from now in order to reach our goal. It includes a date, a handful of numbers and 5 -15 bullet points of what the organization will look like; number of people, facilities, systems, products, markets etc. From there we identify what must happen in the next 12 months; the date, numbers and 3 -7 goals for the year to be on track to achieve that 3-Year Picture.
Here is why this is so powerful. When teams try to plan next year without a clear longer-term picture its often no more than a guess for what they might be able to achieve. But when its clear where they need to be in three years, next years’ plan is simply the first 1/3 of that journey. This became crystal clear last Fall when one of my client teams expressed concern back in the end of summer that they had real doubts about their 3-Year Picture and the next year’s plan as well. We were still in third quarter so I encouraged them to focus on completing their Q3 plans and we would address all of this at Annual Planning. We re-confirmed the long-range target then began building a new 3-Year Picture. We broke down each segment of the business and thought through three years of growth. Then more importantly, all the implications, resources and people requirements that would also have to be in place three short years from now. With the 3-Year Picture now crystal clear, the 1-Year Plan was simple math, just map out the first 12 months of this three-year journey. They ended up projecting an even higher revenue plan and they were completely confident that they could hit. This process erased the doubts and concerns they had going in.
There is luxury car commercial running that after touting all their advanced carbon fiber construction and high tech features they ask a very profound rhetorical question…
What’s the best way to predict the future? Create it!
If you would like a FREE copy of the Vision/Traction Organizer, V/TO® or have any questions about how this process works, contact me directly.
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