Scale Your Business in 2022
Hello readers, thank you for allowing my winter break from my column Scaling Up with Stacy during December and January. Those are my two busiest months of the year as a corporate coach where I travel 24/7. Whether it’s across the metro from Edmond to Newcastle or across state lines to Texas, Kansas, or New Mexico – I love every ounce of being on the road.
My journey as we rolled over from 2021 into 2022 even allowed me back across our Northern Canadian border to see executive teams face to face again. That was the moment I realized how comfortable I’d become working from home, much like the rest of you. I forgot just how much I missed the laughter of a room filled with leaders no longer on “courtesy mute!”
For all that technology does to bridge our team communication and business collaboration gaps, there’s nothing like a Sharpie® in my hand, writing on giant wall Post-Its® in a roomful of brainstorming executives! The energy is electric. The ideas are flying fast and loose as we innovate for the future.
Just as you might have a busy season in retail over the holidays, coaches have a rush of organizations across the United States and Canada typically holding their “annual strategic planning sessions” with company leadership teams. The goal is an off-site retreat where the team can really become immersed for at least two full days without distractions, phone calls, and emails.
It’s amazing how expansive our minds can be when we get away from the four walls we stare at the rest of the year. The teams are excited to look back on all they’ve accomplished in the closing year, and dream of what’s ahead at the dawn of a new calendar year.
One of the phrases I hear the most when helping entrepreneurs in Edmond embrace their 2022 team goals is the term “Annual Strategic Planning.” If nothing else, I really want you to take away from this article the radical idea to eliminate the word annual and split the other two words into separate concepts.
First, your executive team should certainly get together more than once a year to plan the company’s goals. In fact, I’m positive your annual plan will lose steam within 90 days and start collecting dust on a shelf within 120 days. The world around us is moving at lightning speed, and our consumers are adopting new habits daily. The competitive landscape, technology upgrades, and supply chain will not allow you to wait 365 days in between sessions. It’s archaic. Please stop and adopt a quarterly planning session rhythm to ensure your whole team is in sync.
Second, when you talk about strategy for your firm, think long-term. Strategic initiatives and brainstorming shouldn’t be bound by “this year.” Strategy should really be long-term thinking that will drive your top line revenue where the market trends are headed and where you can fulfill an ideal client’s needs before they realize they have them! This is why I like to use the phrase “strategic thinking” versus “execution planning.” They are two separate concepts.
1. Strategic Thinking is anything beyond a year, because true strategy is the long-game that influences your 10-year dream to plant a BHAG flag on top of Mount Everest with a team photo that shouts, “We did it!” Strategy influences your 3-Year Mountain-sized Dreams, and your Annual Boulders to chip away at all year in 2022.
Your strategic thinking should be bigger and brighter, well beyond this year. The sessions need to involve your Core Values, Core Purpose, and Core Competencies – those processes that run like clockwork better than any of your competitors, giving you a unique selling proposition.
Your team should be asking: Where do we want to be in 2025? What tools, resources, and people-planning should come to fruition between now and then to ensure we’re equipped to scale toward achieving those 3-Year Boulders?
With that definition, there’s truly no right or wrong time of year to ensure you’ve performed a Strategic Thinking session with your team. Who cares if it’s February or March and you didn’t start cleanly upon New Years’ Day? Don’t dwell on the past. The next best time to begin strategic thinking is today, not tomorrow or next year!
Your business will not be held back at the starting line by a mere calendar date. Let’s get in the game!
2. Execution Planning is different than long-range strategy. Planning how you will execute the goals is a methodical list of action every quarter in 2022. You must ensure your 1-Year Boulders bust open a clear path up the mountain! We have to chip away at that boulder each quarter until it reaches a breaking point.
During these quarterly sessions, the leadership team should put all their cards on the table, filling the room with ideas on how to implement the next steps. Then vote so there’s alignment among the team on which Quarterly Rocks you’ll put in the jar first, making them a priority as a unified group.
I like to ensure each leader in the session then aligns their metrics and S.M.A.R.T. goals with those specific company rocks that were selected as both urgent and important. After all, every quarter is a 90-day race, and you don’t want to be tripped up by a “squirrel” moment during a race. You must avoid shiny object syndrome and distractions by holding each other accountable. If you leave the session with a clear line of sight on how your leading daily KPI activity will achieve your lagging Critical Numbers, then you’ve set your roadmap for success.
Over 80,000 enterprises now use this described Scaling Up Performance Platform to scale and grow their business without losing their mind or losing their bottom line. There are several reasons why a business owner might pick up the book, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, by author Verne Harnish to join the Annual Strategic Thinking & Quarterly Execution Planning movement:
- Deep dive into case studies of those who’ve already been there and done that
- Learn from their mistakes to form a faster path to success
- Read stories of successful business growth strategies to expand your belief of what’s possible
- Download practical worksheet tools on the four major decision areas every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash
- Utilize cloud software to gain alignment of the entire team and financial insights
It’s clearly my passion to show entrepreneurs there’s a better way than “annual strategic planning” meetings that waste time and money because there’s no follow-through for executing every 13 weeks on a rhythmic cycle.
Did I happen to challenge you to think in a new way today? Excellent. Goal achieved.
Never had an executive offsite retreat? Never seen much success with your old annual, written goals each year? Well, this is my promise to you. If you choose to read Scaling Up to see what a One Page Strategic Plan® system can do to 2x your Cashflow, 3x your Profit, and 10x your Business Valuation… I’ll meet with you for one hour, no charge to answer any Q&A you have about the book, the system, or the 90-day planning process. Reach out anytime at www.stacyeads.com.
It is not a sales pitch. Period. I’m a born and raised Edmondite who ran an Oklahoma software company for a decade, using the book and free online worksheets by themselves, without a private coach running any team sessions. I’m proof you can DIY bootstrap as much as possible with this $20 book. All you need is the willpower to scale up your business and Siri’s directions to your nearest Edmond bookstore. Good luck!
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About Stacy Eads
Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.
Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.