The Forest and the Trees

The Forest and the Trees

The most successful businesses that I work with all have some kind of planning process they follow. Something that forces them to articulate a clear long-term vision, the yearly and quarterly steps along that road, and the next actions needed to get them there. The planning process generally includes periodic check-ups, either personally or with a team, regular review of all business areas, and metrics to help judge success.

That said, every single business I’ve worked with uses a different process and I’m always surprised at the proliferation of options. From lean startup to EOS, Rhythm to industry-specific custom systems, if you want to find a good way to grow your business, odds are there’s a system and coach out there to help you.

Like many things, the right solution varies from person to person, varies based on business size and industry, and definitely varies based on long-term goals. Are you trying to grow revenue or reduce the amount of time you spend per dollar earned? Are you trying to have the leanest infrastructure possible or do you have several hundred employees to manage? Do you want a coach to hold you to the process and guide you along the way or can you handle it internally?

The right system, of course, is the one that resonates with the owners of the business. Some people excel at long term planning and taking systematic steps towards a goal. Many, many others I’ve worked with need a system that allows them to chase the current squirrel and still meet their goals. For the latter, the only company I’ve worked with that has been successful in this way used two incredibly skilled six-sigma black belt coaches (one who kept the macro picture in mind and one who could juggle all the micro goals) and a weekly/daily scrum session to keep going.

Whatever system you choose, make sure to set aside time for big picture thinking. Whether you’re laying out goals and next steps, reviewing and improving each area of your business, or identifying and removing bottlenecks, if you’re not staying on top of this work, you’re falling behind.