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Plan - Perform - Score


Plan Perform Score Nov 2007


How's Your Planning Coming for 2008?

The planning process can be exhilarating, frustrating, enlightening, demanding and a host of other descriptive adjectives. Here's a few do’s and don’ts that might help you better navigate the road ahead. Remember, 2008 is coming fast. Now is the time to prepare for the ride.

Some Planning Do’s:

  • It’s the process that counts! Think verb rather than noun. Bringing your team together, fostering interaction, and forming a climate of mutual interdependence and commitment are the real achievements. The final document is not as important as the process that gets you there.

  • Do trust your instincts. You have lived and breathed what your company is all about. Your plan has to feel right in your gut. Contemplative logic and passionate emotion are good tools. Use them both.

  • Keep the emphasis on communication. Your planning is the linkage between your future, the team that will take you there and the other stakeholders in your enterprise. It’s the glue that binds it all together and drives performance. Communication is the oxygen for your organization’s future.

  • Focus on EXECUTION. Remember, results are what count. The best plan in the world is worthless if it can’t be executed. Unfortunately, they don’t give Pulitzer Prizes for business plans. An executable plan on a napkin is a preferable alternative to an elaborate document that gathers dust.

  • Keep it flexible, adaptive and evolving. As Yogi Berra said, “the future ain’t what it used to be”. Your planning should be an ongoing living process that can adapt and change as competitive, technological and social conditions evolve. Keep it dynamic not static.

  • Stretch. Challenge your organization to extraordinary achievement. Your plan should inspire, motivate and paint a compelling vision for performance. It should keep everyone’s juices flowing.

  • Expect unintended consequences. There’s an old English Proverb that states “every path has its puddle”. Regardless of your collective wisdom, there will be unforeseen ramifications, pro and con. Acknowledge this as part of the planning process.

  • Enjoy the process. What a wonderful opportunity to bring together the people you admire to form a compelling future together. Getting a lot done and having a lot of fun. Go for it.

Some Planning Don’ts:

  • Don’t delegate responsibility (embrace it). This is one management project you can’t delegate away. As CEO, you have to embrace and champion the process. Leadership goes with the position. Rise to the occasion.

  • Don’t get caught in the terminology trap. Planning terminology (vision, mission, strategy, tactics, performance metrics, etc.) can murk things up. It should help your team communicate not hinder them. The challenge is to keep the process understandable to all. It’s not important what you call it as long as it drives team performance.

  • Don’t get overwhelmed. Keep it simple. If it seems too complex, then back off. Try to rephrase and simplify the process. A plan doesn’t have to read like “War and Peace” to be effective.

  • Don’t look for the perfect plan. Perfection is for the next life. As Patton’s’ law expresses it, “a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”.

  • Don’t deny the facts. Reality can be harsh, but the sooner you accept it, the sooner it can be addressed. There is a fine line between rationalizing failure and denial of reality. The challenge is to know the difference.

  • Don’t get trapped by your plan. The purpose of the plan is to guide and drive performance. If it becomes unrealistic don’t continue to follow a bad road map. Change it.

  • Don’t do it if you’re not going to use it. Be committed to the process. Your passion must be overwhelming if it’s to be effective. You have the opportunity to develop a culture of performance. Don’t go through the motions if it won’t make a difference.


Quote & Note

"There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same."
(Chinese Proverb)

The lesson is don't get locked into a tunnel vision view of the world. You can reach your objective in various ways.

I remember hearing a story about how "canned beer" made its debut into the marketplace in the 1950's. Schlitz figured the biggest obstacle was to persuade distributors to stock the canned alternative. Once it had visibility, Schlitz was convinced it would sell. But when distributors failed to see the merits of the new package, Schlitz came up with a novel approach. Its salesmen got some distributorsto stock a few cases with the promise to take them back if they didn't sell. Then a "mystery shopper" appeared talking about a planned family picnic and asking if any of the new containers were available. The shopper bought all the canned beer and the "enlightened" distributors increased their purchase the next time. Schlitz by buying its own beer through these "planted consumers" did get the intended result. Once distributors stocked the new beer in a visible fashion, the cans option started to take off. The rest is history.

So, remember to think of "alternative strategies" to achieve your goals. Be adaptive.

Management Law

Van Roy's Law

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

The final use might not be the initially intended use. 3M created "post-its" from one of the worst glues it ever developed. Keep asking: What can be done with the attributes of this product? What problem might be solved with this product or service?

Check this out:

World Future Society: Top 10 forecasts for 2008 and Beyond

Here's some interesting insight from the premier source for what lies ahead in our futures. These are the top 10 forecasts from the editors of THE FUTURIST, the thought expanding magazine of the World Future Society. Have fun exploring the list and snoop around the WFS website.

We welcome your feedback on this and all issues of Plan-Perform-Score! Please e-mail your comments to:

If you'd like to tour The One Page Planning & Performance System (TOPPPS) with built in scorecards and performance reports,please call Greg Pashke at (772) 528-3871 or e-mail:

November 2007

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