Okay, it’s 2020–and I can’t believe it. Where has this decade and century gone? Life moves fast. Business moves fast. It’s hard to keep up! I know when I arrive at the end of the year, I have these grand ambitions to have everything nice and organized for January. All the forecasts are in place. People are accountable. We know what we need to do. Let’s go. But there’s the crazy of the 4th quarter and before you know it, it’s January and you haven’t locked down your 2020 game plan like you wanted to. FEAR NOT–you can still get things in place!
Here are the top 5 priorities we recommend to our clients in January if they are still clamoring for structure and accountability around their goals:
1. Build a Forecast
Growth companies don’t just put budgets in place, they build a forecast model that looks at the drivers of revenue and cost to see what levers they can pull to improve performance (and the impacts of those decisions). Your model doesn’t have to be complicated but understanding the implications of things like pricing changes, volume improvements, and labor cost reductions are empowering for decision-makers.
2. Run Your Advance
We have talked a lot about running an Advance at Stride (think corporate “offsite”) and it’s a really effective way to get everyone on the same page regarding priorities and accountability. Don’t miss the opportunity to get a commitment from your team for a plan that they have a hand in constructing. Consider having an outside facilitator run this for you so you can be a participant.
3. Architect Your Chart of Accounts for Action
I know, boring accounting, right? Not really. How you organize your income statement and balance sheet line items will have a big impact on your ability to tease out data that can really help you make better business decisions. Things like Contribution Margin and Direct Labor Efficiency can come right out of your financial statements but only if you have broken down the detail. Ask your bookkeeper or accountant to help.
4. Set up Your Systems of Measurement
It’s one thing to have goals but they are meaningless if you aren’t measuring progress consistently. Too many annual objectives get put into a cabinet and not pulled out to see if they were met. We have expressed our support for Asana in managing your work projects but this can’t be overstated. Without accountability and measurement, goals are meaningless. If you haven’t sat down with your team to align owners with outcomes, you are putting too much at risk.
5. Commit to a Theme
Themes have a way of galvanizing an organization around a simple concept. Our theme is STABILIZE. We grew our business very quickly and growth stretches systems. We are slowing down in order to speed up. What’s your theme? Live it and share it so there is no turning back.
Sure, we wanted to go into 2020 all buttoned-up, but business is messy. I like to say that we are fixing the plane while it’s in the air–I’m sure you can relate. So get after it! Dive into the New Year with the confidence that you’re not behind the eight ball (but at the same time…don’t delay).