The CEO’s Planning Omissions

It’s been my experience that many CEO’s either omit or give short shrift to three major parts of their annual business plan.  The first is how they wrestle through Critical Success Factors. These links between the upfront analytical sections of your plan and the downstream implementation sections provide a solid reality check against your objectives. They also force you to consider all reasonable alternative strategies for achieving your major objectives.

The second overlooked area is your plan to upgrade your human resources.  Growing the company’s capabilities in this area might include hiring new talent, training existing talent, repositioning a current employee, or terminating someone who is simply not part of the program.  Don’t overlook the imperative for you as CEO to continue to grow as well.  Those who have seriously assessed their HR strengths and weaknesses might also lay plans to move the organization from “employee mentality” in the direction of “ownership thinking”.

The third area that often receives insufficient attention is your financial plan.  Many private business owners/CEOs shrink from creating even a rudimentary forecast of their key financials, such as cash flow.  Most often their reasoning is that they cannot accurately predict the future.  But forecasting is not about precision.  It’s about engaging in a process that helps you minimize negative surprises as well as focus on actionable items that can be taken throughout the year to keep the firm financially healthy.  These actions might have to do with finding new customers, keeping inventory under control, or instituting a new collections process.

How complete is your plan for 2014?  Do any of the areas discussed here require another look?

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