As we enter the fourth quarter of one of the most volatile and unpredictable years in memory it is important to keep the planning cadence. This will help ensure your business stays strong and in line with the changing environment. One of the most important things that a leader can do in the fourth quarter is plan for the year coming up. There are key issues to keep in mind when planning in the current inherently uncertain pandemic scenario.
As you put together your budget it will be important to stress test your company using the BMW methodology. That is to run your company through the Best, Medium, and Worst-case scenarios. It is just as important to know what to do if your company grows and exceeds the expected forecasts and targets as it is to be prepared if margins go down, costs go up, or you lose your biggest client. With the uncertainty of what the economy will do over the coming months, this planning will be invaluable to have in your tool chest as you update and tweak the budget as 2021 unfolds.
Create an organization chart as you want it to look at the end of 2021. With the world coming to a screeching halt, now is a good time to look closely at the structure of your company and to re-think how and why you are organized the way you are. Do you want to have a certain percentage of your staff remote? Can you recruit and safely train your staff as you grow or rebuild? What needs to be done to retain key employees and to give stability around the organization?
Adaptability is going to be key as you create a path to your vision throughout 2021. Being able to shift from remote to on-premise with staff and technology will be a necessary skill and company capability. Evolving your offering to an everchanging market and keeping an eye out for trends and the value you and your staff can add to the marketplace are paramount to next year’s success.
VISION AND LEADERSHIP
Throughout 2021 it will be imperative to be seen as a leader that can push through the fog of uncertainty. The vision and leadership execution portion of the plan should navigate the short-term changes while keeping in mind the long-term goals. A leader needs to keep their hand on the wheel and an eye on the horizon. The best way to do this is to break down your one-year plan into bite-size chunks with milestones that can be updated through out the year. This typically comes in the form of quarterly focus, monthly goals, and weekly to do’s.
Team buy-in – Lastly it is going to be important, this year in particular, to get buy-in from your leadership team to execute the vision. With decentralization and remote work becoming prevalent and traditional communication methods giving way to Microsoft Teams and Zoom it will be necessary to have the team understand and execute on the annual plan.
I hope that is helpful as you look at your annual plan and try to make sense of 2021.
Travis Alsup is CEO of Kosh Solutions