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Are you in withdrawal or hunkering down defensively when the economy is unstable? Is there a more positive approach that will better serve a business’ future more, than creating a well developed, documented and implemented current period ‘PLAN’?

‘Current Period’ planning is of course, not new. However, during days of a good economy, it is usually pushed aside and the focus is on concepts of where you want to be in five years, the amount of growth, etc. It is not only self-seeking, and usually performed by managers or accountants with no real planning training, but it rarely works. And in days of uninhibited growth, it didn’t matter. The company and the people in it were going to do well no matter what.

No more. In today’s world, a different approach to planning is imperative, often as much for survival as for growth and / or profitability. Planning today must prepare for a future that may materialize from an economic downturn, because recovery may find the business environment largely different than before.

Planning begins with the “Approach”, the ‘right mindset’. For most, even the thought of the process, i.e. research, analysis, surveys, what-if scenario pro forma, financials, talent assessments, etc. is overwhelming, and like the pull of gravity, fall back into the reactive, ‘keep the fingers crossed’ position, and focusing on external affects.

This is not a planning outline, but 10 Advisory Steps to a New ‘Approach’.

1. Leader / Exemplar: No one believes what they read or hear; only what they see.
2. Unlocked Communication: Meetings cause people to go up, over or around to communicate.
3. Cull Meetings: Eliminate frequency and duration of meetings used to disseminate information and any gathering that is not about decisions.
4. Strategy vs. Tactics Muddlefication: Strategy and tactics are two different things.
• Strategy – context regarding decisions which set the characteristics and
direction of the business• Tactics – methodologies to implement and execute strategy• Mission – raison d’ etre
• Core and operational values have to align or else you have conflict between belief and action• Vision – conceived future
5. Talent Fires Organizations: Who within the organization are they leaving and why?
6. Weak Performance Evaluations: Employees want a periodic evaluation of their performance. Performance evaluations will typically be received as positive to the employee if it provides the means to improve job performance.
7. Consultants for the Wrong Reasons: A lot of executives want someone to blame when their ideas go wrong or who is a ‘yes man’ to their own ideas.
8. Focus on Provisional not Preventative: Preventative action saves time, money every time.
9. Focus on Advertising not Marketing: Can’t throw money at closing a sale when the customer hasn’t been given a reason to choose you.
10. Focus on Revenue Growth not Profit: You can’t cut your way to achievement.

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