The 2021 Plan: Using What We Learned
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
I recently heard someone say we should throw 2020 into a dumpster, set fire to it, walk away and don’t look back as it explodes. I think that’s how a lot of us feel about this year. It’s been weird and full of uncertainty, revolving around a global pandemic and the United States election.
However, we can use some of our experiences to help us plan for next year, if you haven't already done so. I’ve always found that in order to most effectively plan, thinking about where we've been and where we currently are is a great starting point. What are the lessons we learned this year? What worked and what didn’t?
For example, a client of ours hired a salesman who resigned after less than 6 months. Why? The company hadn’t thought through what type of person they needed so the job description didn’t accurately reflect the role. In addition, the onboarding process was poor and incomplete. The new employee quickly became unhappy. He was good at what he did so he easily found another job.
The company was taken by surprise at the loss. It caused a major disruption for their employees and customers. After taking a deep dive into what went wrong, the company has now identified an Annual Goal around developing and implementing a more concrete hiring and onboarding process.
Ask yourself these 5 questions to better prepare for 2021
1. What have we learned?
Sometimes the easiest way to find the "gold nuggets" is to do a quick brain dump. I find actually writing all the things that worked and didn’t work on a piece of paper, whiteboard, flip chart or large sketch pad helps the most. If I use digital apps or type on my iPad, I tend to concentrate on the technology rather than focus on the thinking process.
After you've finished "dumping", ask yourself these three questions:
What do I want to STOP doing?
What should I CONTINUE doing?
Is there anything I need to START doing?
2. Where do we want to be?
What is the plan for 2021? How do you want things to look at the end of the year? What do you hope to have achieved? The Resultants Accelerate Your Business™ process includes identifying a long-term (5-10 year) goal and working backwards all the way down to 90-day priorities. Once you've outlined the company's long-term goals, it's up to the team to make it happen. By keeping a close eye on the quarter's priorities in weekly Leadership Team meetings, the team can hold each other accountable.
3. What assumptions do we need to make?
Given the last few months, we now know forecasting is even tougher than it used to be. We have to be smarter about our planning. One of the ways to do that is through scenario planning. Once you've identified the worst and best possible scenarios, identify what steps would need to be taken in your finance, people, operations, sales and marketing implications for both scenarios.
4. What resources do we need?
One of the most important tools we use with our clients is the Accountability Chart™, as outlined in the Entrepreneurial Operating System™. The Accountability Chart helps identify whether or not we have the right people in the right seats. Without that, all the best planning in the world will be for nothing as we won’t have the right resources to get it all done.
5. How do we track our progress?
As Peter Drucker once said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” How true. If you can’t (or don't) measure something, you can’t possibly get better at it. After all, getting better is all about learning and adapting.
So, how do we efficiently and comprehensively track progress? The Resultants meet with our clients on a regular basis where we review a company Scorecard and do a quick check-in on those quarterly Rocks I talked about earlier. Our teams are constantly measuring their progress so they always know exactly where things sit.
Let's finish the year strong by putting a great plan in place for 2021. Once we have that, we’ll feel a lot better about lighting the flame that will burn away those awful memories of 2020.
Author, Peter Beaumont, is a trusted partner of The Resultants®. To learn more about Peter, connect with him on Linkedin.
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