business planShould you spend precious management time on a business plan or not? This has been the subject of big debates. Good planning can strengthen an organization’s productivity, efficiency and profitability and yet few organizations make the time or effort to do this. Why? Well, there are some fundamental problems organizations face when they start out to make a serious business plan… .

These problems are..

1. Most business plans are too long and no one reads them
2. Most planning takes too much time
3. Too few people are engaged in planning
4. The business plan ends up sitting on a shelf collecting dust
5. The business plan has little or no impact on organizational performance.
6. The business plan loses relevance with time

There is a better way. It’s called The One Hour Plan. There are a few variations of this produced by different people but the version that seems to be most practical is the one described here

Develop a plan that fits on a single sheet of paper.
Spend hours, not days or weeks, in the planning process.
Engage the whole team in the consultation process.

The Three-Step Process

Step 1: Where do you want to go? This includes your vision and mission.

Step 2: Identify your 3-4 most important issues.

Step 3: Last, identify how you will get from where you are to where you want to go. Who will do what by when and what are the priorities.

5 Important Questions to Ask in the Planning Process

Instead of getting bogged down in confusing definitions of mission, vision (most people cannot work out the difference), simplify in the following way:

1. Vision – What mountain are we climbing?
2. Mission – Why are we climbing it?
3. Objectives – How will we measure our progress?
4. Strategies – What work needs to be done?
5. Priorities – Who will do what by when?

Vision and Mission are longer term – 2 years or more
Objectives and Strategies are 12 months – this year
Priorities are short-term – next 6 months

Implement the One Hour Business Plan

So this is how the whole process will come together:

-Set priorities to be accomplished in the next 3 months.
-After 3 months, review progress
-Set new priorities for the next 3 months.
-Continue this process for 12 months.
-Then repeat