Getting better results from business planning

11th August 2015

There’s a saying, ‘if you fail to plan then you plan to fail’. As we approach the time when many businesses are involved in business planning there is no doubt that this is a really important activity. How effective is business planning in your business? Do you get the outcomes that deliver real business benefit and drive competitive advantage? Could it be better?

At its best, business planning provides clarity of purpose and direction for an organisation that allows each area of the business to know what needs to be done to deliver success. Crucially, communication of business plans enable each and every person in the business to understand the part they need to play in delivering great results.

… on average only 10% of decisions that come out of meetings, including business planning, result in action being taken.

However, research shows that this does not always happen – scarily, on average only 10% of decisions that come out of meetings, including business planning, result in action being taken. When you look at the amount of time that is invested by senior people in business to create and communicate the business plan then this outcome is particularly shocking. It also presents an opportunity, as it can be better than this!!

Statistics point the way

Using statistics from the UK’s Office of National Statistics we calculate that medium and large private sector businesses in the UK invest the equivalent of 11% of their turnover in meetings each year. This equates to an incredible £258bn in the UK. Every year!

But let’s get back to your business. If you were making an investment of this size in say, R&D, technology or marketing what return would you want from that? What would you do to make sure that the outcomes from the investment delivered real benefit and competitive advantage for your business? Perhaps it is time to think more consciously about people working together in meetings and how to effectively leverage the power and full potential of the people that you, as a business leader, have already invested so much in attracting, retaining and developing.

If we take the investment approach to a business planning meeting, what would you do differently?

If we take the investment approach to a business planning meeting, what would you do differently? You might consider whether you have all the skills and experience you need. I am not talking here about specific content for business planning as this undoubtedly sits within the colleagues you work with and, of course, with you. I mean the skills and experience to help people work collaboratively to leverage the expertise and experience within the group in a way that gains commitment and motivation to implement and build greater trust and respect in your team.

If it were anything but meetings you would do something about it

You may have this expertise in your business but often this would be someone who needs to be very much involved in the content. It is pretty difficult to do a great job on both content and process at the same time. If this were an investment in an R&D project, for example, and you had a skills gap, you would seek to bring in those skills wouldn’t you? Additionally, knowing that communication of the outcomes from business planning is crucial to getting the results you want in the business you might also consider how to do this more effectively. A visual record of the business planning work is a very effective communication tool.

No prizes for guessing where you can find people with the skills and experience to work in partnership with you to make a change in how you approach your business planning this time and help you achieve real business benefit and competitive advantage from it. Meeting Magic have over 16 years experience in working with business leaders in this way and we all have considerable business experience ourselves so we really do get what you are seeking to achieve. Can we talk?

Call us on +44 (0)1628 471 114 or complete the contact form telling us a little about your business planning issues.