56. Why To Not Plan Annually

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/56. Why To Not Plan Annually

56. Why To Not Plan Annually


For many small companies, annual planning is simply not effective. The business is changing too quickly to accurately predict growth or what projects are going to move the needle in the upcoming year.

However, there are great ways to use strategic planning to grow your business through planning.

In today’s episode, I go through the system that I’ve created to capture my thoughts and imagine the next steps of the company's evolution.

Learn more at https://www.adamliette.com

Discover how to work with me: https://www.adamliette.com/work-with-me

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What's going on operators? Well, it's that time of the year, isn't it where we're getting ready to wrap a big bow on 2022 and dive into 2023. And you're going to be seeing a lot of ads soon. Talking about annual planning and your best year ever, ever read that book? It's a good book. Honestly. If you ever had your best year ever by Michael Hyatt I read it. Pretty much every year. I reread it. And it's a couple other Michael Hyatt books. I've revisited every year, because it puts me in a good place for the year.

That being said, I don't plan annually. I've never been able to plan annually. I think planning annually for most organizations is stupid. What, but all the Guru's are telling me to plan annually. Yeah, no, they are. Here's the thing, man. Most of these organizations have been doing this for years. They know what they can accomplish in a year. They have realistic expectations for what can be accomplished in the year they have sales figures and revenue figures that you'll have a bit more history to them than most of us. So they're able to plan for the year. Because they're starting from a history of doing that. History of expectations. Your most of you aren't there yet. I know I'm not. I'm just not. The companies are growing too fast. My company is growing too fast. My company has too many different things going on how the heck can I possibly plan annually with all of this crap going on? Instead, I need to be nimble and flexible. I need to be able to shift strategies, I need to be able to strategies quickly. So when we're planning even though, what we need to plan, right, you absolutely do need to plan. You need to plan, let's just talk about how to do it the right way. In my perspective and things that have worked for me, first off, let's dispel the notion that annual planning means that you must be on a fiscal year that's on par with the calendar year, absolutely not the case. I don't like working from fiscal year to calendar year, I just don't I like my fiscal year being on a different schedule than my calendar year.

Because it means I could do my strategic thinking at a different time of the year, when I'm not wrapped up in family and Christmas and New Year's and blah, blah, blah, and a million parties. You know, I got kids at home, you know, we got Santa Claus come in. Because Santa Claus still comes to our house. You know, that wonderful time period in our lives where the kids all put out milk and cookies for the kids or for Santa. I casually suggested one year that Santa might prefer hot wings and beer. That was not listened to, much to my chagrin. But you know, maybe in a couple years. I'll talk them into it when they can, we can have a more transparent discussion about what exactly happens. But anyway, I've done a lot of companies that do their annual planning at the midpoint of the year. So they do annual planning in June, in order to start their fiscal year in July. Well, Adam, you're saying not to do annual planning? Okay, got it. I'm getting there. I do my annual and my strategic level planning in concert with the government. So I do it in September, because my fiscal year begins in October. Just kind of a force of habit. But what is this? Let me do let me lead my year with the holiday season when most of us are getting our most sales when it's the busiest so I get to lead with the holiday seasons I rather enjoy that gives me that momentum, I need to kick things off. So how do we then I'm saying to do annual planning and set your fiscal year at at whenever, well, what are we supposed to do during that time period.

I like to take the time to think big broad strategically. And I do this through what is called operational design. Now operational design is a multifaceted thing. I teach the full like ins and outs and we'll help you do it inside of my coaching program. But what can we cover here on the podcast? We're just audio. The first is I established what I call lines of effort and you'll lines of effort by their very nature can be broad, and probably shouldn't be broad. When we're talking about a line of effort, we can be talking about increasing our revenue. That's a line of effort. And it doesn't have to be any more detailed than that, in terms of its objective, increase our revenue, that's probably it should be most of your efforts, want to at least one years, maybe increase the team size, maybe provide stability to the team, maybe you want to have new product launches, those are all examples of lines of effort. What are we really working on when we're in a line of effort, the first thing to recognize that alignment of effort is not time bound. It's not calendar bound. It's big, broad fat objective bound. So we can be talking about increasing our revenue. What are all the various ways we could increase our revenue? Work through those during your strategic thinking?

Don't time bound them, don't prioritize them, don't order them. Just simply give yourself the permission and the space to think big, broad, fat, huge objectives. And then when you're in that white space, allow yourself or give yourself that permission to go bigger go home. Think of the radical things that you could do think of the huge things that you could do. You know, maybe one of like, one of my objectives is to get on stage at some of these big conferences, and to be an authority a voice, a leader? Is that going to happen in the first quarter? I mean, it'd be great if it did. But can I take steps to do that? I can. But the important thing is when I'm looking at it from a strategic perspective, I'm not giving myself that what can I do now? I'm giving myself all the what could I do? And allowing myself to think big and huge and broad. Because we limit ourselves, when we think in terms of time bound areas, we limit ourselves. And instead of asking, What could I do, and what is potentially there to happen, we ask ourselves, well, I want to be realistic. And I want to stay in the possible I want to establish SMART goals. SMA RT there's a time for that. There's a time for that don't give yourself restrictions.

When thinking thinking strategically, you will never conquer the world. Never get to your highest level of output, highest level of contribution, your highest level of impact. By keeping yourself bound to what can you do now? Instead? What could you do? Period. So if you're into fitness as an example, let's bring this it's something very tangible and real. If you're into fitness, like what are some big broad goals that we could establish? I want to do the Ironman in Hawaii. Let's say that's an example. I actually don't. That sounds terrible. But like let's say that's, let's say your objective is to become really physically fit. And one thing that you allow yourself the permission to dream of is participating in the Ironman national championships, World Championships in Hawaii. Why can't you envision that? And why can't that be part of your strategic, your line of effort and your strategic objectives?

You might not do it this year, probably won't, unless you're already got a really Head Start. But you're giving yourself huge goals. And from those huge goals, you're able to then start planning ways to get there taking the steps in the right direction to get there. So you know, it could be hey, I want to run the Ironman. That means I need to swim and I need to swim well, well, what can I do to swim well? Well, there's a couple races I can compete in. There's a pool nearby that I can join. I can come up with a plan a training schedule, to get myself consistently swimming. I probably want to coach just to show me some ways, man I should What else should I do? What can I do? You know, just some examples. We can start to now break this down into what is possible now but that comes from the big picture.

So from there, and only from there when after we allow ourselves to think big do we start seeing everything else that's possible. I have a client who is going through this right now.

And he was so excited, because he had a vision of what he wanted to do. And I gave him this planning framework. And I talked him through it. And I talked to him, you know, coached him through the process of doing it. And he was like, I suddenly realize how big this could be at him. And I'm starting to see how to get there. He was so excited. He, he has a 12 year old, who's starting her first Etsy store, she's got a little arts and crafts she does. And he sent me this super proud papa picture of his daughter, doing a strategic line of effort. And his his caption was so simple, a 12 year old do it so powerful that it's going to guide the next three years of my life. And I was so proud of him. Just one of those, one of those coaching daddy moments where you see one of your, your coaches doing something amazing, like, I'm so proud of you guys, and it gets me, it gives me inspiration. It really does. So stop thinking annually, stop planning annually. Instead, give yourself a strategic objective. And start planning all the things you could do in there. Start to dream big. And you will then start to see the possible and what you can do now. So if that's you right now, if you are in a fiscal year calendar that's in line with the calendar year. Give yourself some time and space to do that, during this upcoming holiday season. Schedule out a block on your day and just block out the entire day. This is what I do is I block out everything. I'll put it on my calendar is my strategic day. And I'm not going to do any thing else. Absolutely nothing zip zero nada, adult it do a podcast interview, don't meet with clients don't do anything. But stay in the realm of possible. Dream big, document everything. And then we can start breaking it down into our quarters, our months and our weeks with the task that we're going to do to achieve it. Good luck, Happy hunting.

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