The team had gathered around the brown oval table and was adjusting the waistline clothing after the just-had-lunch. The boss comes in and takes the centre position, everyone glancing at each other to see who else is nervous other than the self.
The meeting starts with a review of plan-vs-achievement of the lengthy plan they’d made up 2 months ago. The numbers aren’t adding up, in fact all key numbers have tanked in the 2 month period.
Then starts the glorious blame game!
You screwed it up here, he screwed it up there, you just didn’t exhibit character & mettle, he is a liability to the organisation…….
Business plans are essentially meant for achieving whatever it sets out to. But sadly, most often businesses and managers create plans that are just excel sheets with a set of numbers that are either scrolled up (in the case of revenue or customer acquisition where we want them to increase) or scrolled down (in the case of cost or operational efficiency where we want them to decrease).
This happens in large and startup organisations alike. Mature and newbie teams alike.
If the plan is not in sync with data backed past insights, then it’s not a plan but a wishful thinking of growth projections spread over a year or two.
And this is why they are mere wishes:
Catch a team member with whom you recently shared an excel sheet plan and ask him whether he is able to see a clear path to achieving it. Excel sheet plans are forgotten by the same people who are supposed to implement it, within a max of 1 weeks’ time of sharing. The reason being, such plans never translate the reality and without which it is hard to get connected to the path described in the plan. If it’s hard to connect to the path, it is impossible to execute it.
The plan put up on the Microsoft Excel are mere numbers, it is not going to define how each & every action in the value chain is going to impact the unit metrics of the business.
For example, the plan to grow revenue is pegged basis consistently increasing the lead conversion ratio month on month by a certain percentage. This is a very straightforward equation that can be “achieved on excel”.
But the leads conversion alone doesn’t fully explain things such as how various ads are performing in Facebook, which product specific ads deliver highest leads, which product represents the highest demand & what is it’s ad budget as against other products, etc.,
When the plan eventually fades out and when the team sits for a review of why things didn’t work out the way they “wished”, suddenly everyone will start the blame game and mudslinging.
Then the whole cycle of sitting together over a 7 hour marathon ideation session and redo a fresh “paper boat business plan afresh”.
If the same plan gets shared with external VCs or backers, they take few seconds to call the entire venture as a JOKE!
The best way to plan is take those 3 – 4 important key metrics and analyse the past data to check how they are linked to various actions by various departments such as Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc.,
Then if the same is extrapolated into refined actions across the above departments, with projections of what each refinement would yield, then it not only makes an immediate connection with every team member (in terms of understanding what exactly he needs to do) but also with external ecosystem.
So you end up achieving the business plan eventually!