Not a multi-day, multi-hour exercise
The mid-year review is not like the process you go through when you are setting up your strategic plan for the year. In the yearly planning process, you are looking at a longer horizon since it includes where you are going to be in three to five years. Within the overall strategic plan, there is a section for the year-long goals and aspirations. This is the part that you are reviewing in the mid-year meeting. The information from the living business plan lets you know if everything is on target.
Temptation lurks here
Part of the role of CEO is to keep an eye out for opportunities. It is likely that as you go forward with your growth plan, you spot possibilities. The other side of this is when targets are not being met and it seems as if the plan is not working. One temptation is to chase the possibilities. The other temptation is to ditch the plan and make a new one.
Thinking shortcuts could interfere with effective decision making
It cannot be said enough…do your homework. We have a tendency to seek out information that corresponds with our thinking. While it does work in our favor because we can filter through the noise and get the data we need. It can also work against us when we allow ourselves to discount information because it does not fit in with our beliefs.
There are a few ways you can circumvent this so you and your team can make a grounded decision:
- Involve your team. Have someone else do the research on your great idea. Another set of eyes, particularly from one of your team members, is a good way to sift through your own biases and hear what is possible and probable.
- Do a quick pros and cons list. This can be a useful way to find out what you know and don’t know. It highlights if you have enough capital, in-house expertise and resources. By keeping it quick, it supports telling yourself the truth and what needs more research.
- Know what your siren’s call sounds like.We all have areas that get us excited. It might be working internationally, noticing market trends, certain subjects that are our expertise or something else that you would love to do more of. Like Odysseus, tie yourself to your mast by reminding yourself that there is an agreed-upon plan in place. This also prevents you from undermining your team.
- Use a coach or mentor. Conversations with either a coach or mentor can help you hear your thinking. Plus you get the added bonus of questions that provoke deeper thinking.
Most small to mid-sized businesses do not have the level of capital, talent or other resources to go off the plan without running the risk of harming or even killing themselves. The idea may end up having merit and fits with the overall strategic plan. On the other hand, it might be simply the heat of the moment and adding some logic to the decision process illuminates this.
Creativity and science
Leaders who are creative foster the same in their organizations. It is a bit like the scientific process. Your idea is like a hypothesis. The testing part is much like running a scientific experiment. The four suggestions above show if the idea is possible and fits in with the overall direction of the company. The idea is to not stop seeking out new possibilities or even making necessary adjustments. It is simply to keep the temptation of revamping the year-long strategic plan simply based on a gut response.
*Image from Fotolia by densismagilov