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Business Growth
Aug 15, 2014

The Benefits Of A 90-Day Plan

Sponsored Content provided by Dallas Romanowski - Managing Partner, Cornerstone Business Advisors

A 90-day plan prioritizes the most important company initiatives and provides clear direction for your team to execute upon. Ninety-day plans break your annual goals into quarterly segments and make it easier to understand the critical success factors, strategies and action plans necessary to achieve your ultimate objectives. The quarterly planning sessions also provide the foundation for effective weekly leadership team meetings.

The 90-Day Planning Session Agenda should include:

1. Company Vision and Mission.

2. Last Quarter Performance Review.

3. Goals for the Next 90 Days.

4. Three to Five Critical Success Factor. Strategies and action plans to achieve critical success factors should be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Responsible Person (always select one lead)
  • Timeline
Depending on your company’s complexity the first 90-day planning session can range from a half day to two days. Your second-, third- and fourth-quarter planning sessions typically range from a half day to a full day. 

Some companies prefer to start in January, but the timing cycle has little to no impact on your company performance. The mere exercise of planning and holding team members accountable is what drives business performance.

Companies we work with have found it very beneficial to bring in a strategic planning professional to facilitate the quarterly sessions. A third-party facilitator should help you keep the meeting on track, avoid tangents, cut through company politics, and balance the conversation by preventing strong personalities from overwhelming the discussion. 

We use the agenda below to facilitate the quarterly planning sessions. I’ve also included facilitator notes as part of the agenda here.

1. Best thing. (Facilitator note: Ask participants to describe the best thing that has happened over the last quarter – one personal and one business. This is always a good opener and helps set the agenda for a positive meeting.)

2. Review the company’s vision and mission. (Facilitator note: The main purpose is to reinforce the vision and mission. After reviewing, ask the team, “Is this still relevant? If not, how should it change? If so, are we on track?”

3. Review the prior period’s performance and Key Performance Indicators(KPIs). (Facilitator note: Key Performance Indicators are important metrics that gauge the company’s performance. This requires the company leadership team to do prep work for the meeting. As a facilitator, you should probe on the reasons for either meeting or exceeding the goals or reasons for not meeting the goals. Doing so will help you identify the critical success factors for the next quarter.)

4. Discuss the next quarter’s goals. (Facilitator note: The reason for the discussion is to make sure ALL Leadership team members believe the goals are reasonable and attainable. The goals should not be a slam dunk and should be within reach, otherwise the goals are meaningless.)

5. Define Critical Success Factors to achieve the goals. (Facilitator note: For each goal, ask the team questions that probe on the niche strategy, unique value, people, process and key partnerships that support the supply chain.) Questions include:
  • Have we differentiated our product/service enough to provide a compelling value proposition to our customers?
  • Do we need to improve a product or service? Do we need to add a new line? Do we need to discontinue an unprofitable line?
  • Do we have the right marketing plans to generate enough prospects?
  • Do we have the right sales process and the right sales people to close the opportunities?
  • Can our operations deliver (people and process)? Are we ready to meet or exceed the customers’ expectations (in quality, turn around time, et cetera)? Is our process solid with the right applications in place to support?
  • Is our customer service team ready to handle the projected inquires/problem tickets?
  • Do we have the right financial controls in place (AR, AP, working capital requirements)?
  • Do we have the right partners in place to support our supply chain? Have we communicated expectations and requirements?
6. Create Strategies and Action Plans for each goal. (Facilitator note: Ask the leadership team to list both company initiatives that are ongoing as well as new initiatives required to meet the quarterly plan. Once all of these initiatives have been listed, prioritize the importance.) Action plan categories may include:
  • Must Have – Quarterly  performance will probably not meet or exceed goals without implementing
  • Strategic – Important, but not absolutely necessary to achieve next quarter’s goals
  • Necessary – Company  initiatives that are necessary for the company to operate, but add little value
  • Other – Company initiatives in this category should be questioned
7. Create Accountability. (Facilitator note: Each company initiative should have one owner with a projected time to complete. Your list of initiatives will become a key part of your company weekly leadership team meetings.)

8. Most Valuable Takeaway. (Facilitator note: At the end of the meeting, ask participants what their most valuable takeaway is. This reinforces key messages discussed during the planning session.)

Cornerstone Business Advisors provides access to experts in business strategy, management, process and finance. The Cornerstone team includes former C-Level executives, successful entrepreneurs and advisors who offer unmatched experience in delivering advanced, custom-tailored, results-oriented solutions for business leaders. Cornerstone has worked with hundreds of companies that range from fast-growth start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. It developed the Performance Culture System™ to help clients implement best practices and drive high performance throughout their organization. For more information, visit www.launchgrowexit.com, call 910-681-1420, or email [email protected].

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