Archive - 18/08/2015

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A “proper” planning process

A “proper” planning process

In over 30 years’ experience in advising clients on planning I believe very strongly that there is a correct process to follow when you are preparing your strategic or business plan.

At the same time, I have also seen many attempts at different ways to prepare strategic or business plans by consultants who have never had to live through the implementation phase of planning, when client staff go “Huh? What exactly are we supposed to do here?”

I have just spent some time with a client who has prepared their plan exactly in that way. While I was advising them on the financial aspects of their business, their Chief Operating Officer was internally preparing their strategic plan, which I had a chance to look at since it would obviously have an impact on their financial strategy and budget. It was not my role since, as a gun-for-hire consultant I can only do what I am contracted to do. However, for the benefit of my client I felt I had to provide some warning about what I felt were the shortcomings of the planning process to the CEO.

As a consultant you have to approach these situations carefully. You do not want to seem critical so that you look like you are touting for more work; you do not want to insult internal staff and put them off side in case you have to work with them on other issues – yet, I always feel a responsibility to provide an independent view of what I see that may affect their business.

Here, for nothing, is a list of what I thought was wrong with the process and the resulting planning document.

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