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New Year business and team planning

Yesterday I met with the general manager of a family-owned business that is facing increased competition by major overseas players. Smartly, the business has successfully niched to where the large companies don’t want to play. However, the company is now experiencing growing pains. The storeman who has been with them for more than 10 years has low productivity so is not equipped to deal with the increased volume, nor does he have the computer skills to transition to the online stock management system. The sales manager has been with them for 18 months but still not reaching the targeted sales. The general manager is planning for the new year. Getting the team right for growth is a major priority.

It’s time for us all to review our performance over the year and think about what we want to achieve next year. The approach I take for my business is to look at:

  1. My business BHAG
  2. Next year’s goals
  3. Values and behaviours
  4. My team


What’s a BHAG? Big Hairy Audacious Goal! Coined by Jim Collins, he defines it as “a true BHAG is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort– often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organisation can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”

Here are some awesome examples of BHAGs:

  • General Electric – Become #1 or #2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have the speed and agility of a small enterprise.
  • 99 stores supporting 99 villages is Thomas Lundgren’s 2020 vision for his Dubai-based company, The One Total Home Experience.
  • Reaching 10% of all Australians with a “gifted experience” was Naomi Simson’s 2015 goal for her Sydney-based company Red Balloon.
  • Averaging $1 revenue from every man, woman, and child in the U.S. per week was Fred Deluca’s 2010 focus for Subway.

2. Business Plan

With my BHAG in mind I move on to developing my business plan for the year, which is primarily made up of:

  • Performance Goals/KPIs – What outcomes do I want?
  • Actions – How am I going to achieve those outcomes?
  • Resources – Who do I need on my team, and what resources do we need?

Once I have an overall picture for the year, I break it up by quarter, month and week to keep myself focused on the end game of achieving my business plan and ultimately my BHAG.

3. Values drive results

Values are the linchpin of our business. They drive business performance by creating the workplace culture necessary for success. The culture of each business is different. It is those differences that create an organisation that attracts the ideal clients and deliver the appropriate type and quality of service to clients. Happy clients equal bigger profits ☺

In my experiencing with clients, and from interviewing the founders and CEOs of award-winning best places to work for my book, The CEO Secret Guide to Managing and Motivating Employees, values are born from the founders of the business. The values reflect who they are, which enable them to be authentic to the values and drive them through the organisation because there is congruency. So if you don’t have them, create them.

Values are nothing without behaviours that support them. Facilitate a fun session with your team to explain the values and work with them to develop a set of specific behaviours or behavioural statements that demonstrate how your values will be lived and breathed in your business. A good example of values supported by behaviours is Sidcor.

4. Who’s on your team?

With clarity over your BHAG, business plan, values and behaviours, it is time to think about your team. You need the best team you can possibly afford to help you deliver on your plan. My advice is to think about it in the following order:

  • What outcomes need to be achieved to deliver on the business plan?
  • Who on your team is going to deliver these outcomes? And who are your star performers?
  • Who do you need to add to your team? Who needs off your team? What performance problems have you been tolerating for too long?
  • What are the performance measures for each person – 3 months, 6 months, 12 months?

Without the right team of people, with clear expectations and regular performance feedback, it will be difficult to grow your business. Take this opportunity to really think about what you need, and the changes you need to make to make it happen.

In summary, join me in new year business and team planning by:

  1. Create an inspirational BHAG.
  2. Develop a business plan with clear KPIs.
  3. Create workplace values and behaviours.
  4. Establish an awesome team to help you deliver on the plan.

First published on the HerBusiness website.


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