It’s getting close to June. For most companies, the business plan preparation for the next business year has already begun. And, for most of the people in those companies, this process sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry.
But it does not have to be this way. Business plans, like all plans, can be one of the most motivational tools in a company’s inspiration tool box. Given you are already busy creating these plans, the following are a couple quick and easy suggestions for extracting motivation from your business planning process.
- Help people understand what the numbers mean. To the client or to the company or both. What is it really creating, solving, or inventing that was not there before? How is it changing the client or the company for the better beyond the numbers? The numbers are simply the tangible representation of what you are creating as a team. Taking it for granted leaves a ton of motivation on the table.
- Try thinking of the plan as a prequel to the story the company wants to create in the coming year, as opposed to a pre-determined set of steps any robot could accomplish. What are the vital roles that will make next year’s story come alive? Where is the ambiguity and potential challenges that will give the story spice and create hero’s?
Obviously there is much more that can be done to turn boring and lifeless plans and planning processes into life-injecting stories being written by you and your employees. But you are busy planning, so I am keeping it short.
Plans are about identifying needed behavior, both continuing the existing behavior that works and changing the behavior that does not lead to the intended outcome, the numbers represent those outcomes. Without the motivation to follow through on the behavior identified in a plan, no plan is worth the paper it is written upon.
So try it on. Take a different approach to the boring planning process and see if you can’t make it one of the most inspiring activities in the next coming months. And for you finance folks…keep moving, nothing to see here. Just know you will be much happier with the numbers this kind of motivated planning creates.