You’re midway through the fiscal year when you’re presented with a fantastic business opportunity. Unfortunately, you’re forced to pass because it isn’t included in the annual budget. Sounds familiar?
If your company is like most others, you spend seemingly endless hours in annual planning meetings discussing spreadsheets, crunching numbers, prioritizing line items, trying to predict what opportunities might arise, and estimate just how much the year ahead will cost.
Traditional strategic planning looks at long-term history to plan for the long-term future. That may be the way things have been practiced in businesses around the world for generations. In a world where technology moves faster than business, annual planning is obsolete. It’s static planning for a dynamic world.
— It’s time to step away from tradition and into a new way of planning. One that invests more time in maximizing productivity and flexibility.
One that doesn’t make you waste time trying to pin down every little detail, only to pin yourself down by a plan that doesn’t allow any flexibility.
Organizations need to blow apart the traditional budgeting process, become more dynamic, and refocus on crucial management functions individually.
What is dynamic planning?
A dynamic plan allows employees to take intelligent risks, pursue unforeseen opportunities, respond swiftly to threats, adopt new technology, and carry out new ideas for the business’s betterment.
- It’s planning with a balance of strategy and flexibility.
- It attempts to take the big picture into account to make a broad, responsible plan for the year ahead.
- It requires you to revisit that plan regularly – perhaps quarterly – to stay competitive and stay up to date with the market.
If you haven’t made the shift yet, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Set clear goals
Clear, big-picture goals are just as important in dynamic planning as static planning. When in place, the goals serve as a measuring stick for whether an opportunity is worth investing in the required resources.
But goals also need to be clear and concise on an individual level. Even more importantly, they need to be aligned to corporate goals. How do you manage an update in corporate goals today?
One advantage a static annual plan can have is that it can serve as an unwavering playbook for your company. Everyone receives it at the beginning of the year and does their part to see it through to the end.
On the other hand, it’s already obsolete on far too many occasions when the year starts. Not so much with dynamic plans. Things change. Strategies take twists and turns. Priorities are rearranged. This can be frustrating on the individual level if it’s not all accompanied by strong communication.
Everyone involved should communicate regularly–both within teams and among departments–about what they’re doing to move the company forward. This way, everyone can flex together to help achieve common goals.
Make sure your planning model serves as your communication platform for strategic plans. When you twist and turn at the top, every employee should know what this means to his or her goals. Dynamic and connected!
3. Track progress
A static plan will give you KPIs to follow up on at the end of your planning period. How about you follow up the same KPIs on the rolling period? Rolling 3 months to see the short-term direction and Rolling 12 months for a longer trend.
In all fairness, your company will still be there at the end of the fiscal year. To be able to work on your long-term goals dynamically will increase your chance of achieving them.
— Fail fast. Maximize success. Be quick to act and hungry to improve.
Dynamic planning gives you and your team the freedom to be strategic more than once a year.
Actually, it encourages strategic thinking as often as possible. And with the world-changing as quickly as it is today, who doesn’t need a little more freedom and encouragement to keep up with it all?