Unformatted text preview: NNING The Planning Process
As you develop that plan you need to get over the business hurdle, always remember that there
is potentially much more value to planning than just the plan itself. Aside from the importance of
overcoming the hurdle, it’s the process around the plan that makes this such a valuable tool for
The planning process includes bringing teams together to develop the plan, making ﬁrm
commitments within the team, publishing a plan to cement those commitments, then tracking results
and following up with plan vs. actual analysis and course corrections.
Professional planners realize that a good business plan is never done, and a good business plan
is rarely if ever right. What makes a plan valuable isn’t as much the prediction of the future as the
guideposts and milestones that keep objectives in mind as the future reveals itself and events are
managed. Control Your Destiny
The business planning process is about controlling your own destiny in a business sense. Set your
long-term business goals and use a plan to break the journey from present to future into manageable
concrete steps. Don’t let the real world of phone calls and daily routines determine your future.
Certainly, in the real world, there will be business problems and changes in economic environment,
customers paying slower than expected, costs going up on one product, down on another. In business
school they called the real world the RW, pronounced “are-dub.” Use your business plan to make
measured responses to the vagaries of the RW, instead of scattered reactions.
A good planning process helps a plan stand up to the real world. As each month closes, the plan
absorbs plan vs. actual results. Each manager keeps track of milestones and budgets, and at the end
of each month the actual results are compared to the plan. Managers look at the variance. They make
adjustments. They review the performance of their peers. Changes are made in the plan — organized,
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