20/20 Vision by 2020: How to Establish Your Five-Year Plan
Life coaches and motivational speakers often use the ‘rocks and sand’ illustration to emphasize the need for prioritization.
In the illustration, you take an empty jar, put in a predefined amount of sand and then try to fit five rocks in. Needless to say, there isn’t enough room. However, if you put the rocks in the jar first, and then pour in the sand, everything fits perfectly.
What’s the point? All too often, in life and business, we focus on the sand, or the minute details that take up so much time and energy that we miss out on the bigger priorities. What’s the key to avoiding this scenario in regards to your company’s priorities for this year?
What exactly does it mean to have forward-facing 20/20 vision for your organization?
Have a Five-Year Plan
With the year 2020 a mere five years away (yeah, it’s nuts to us, too), how can you have a clear vision for your company?
Here’s the best place to start; too many companies make the mistake of not having a five-year plan for their business, complete with milestones and goals to strive for.
“More than 80 percent of the 300 small business owners surveyed in the recent 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey said that they don’t keep track of their business goals, and 77 percent have yet to achieve their vision for their company,” writes Peter Vanden Bos for Inc.
Other companies, though they have goals in place, may fail to clearly define them, opting for ambiguous goals that are no more beneficial than simply having none at all.
For example, would you like to increase your company’s market share? If so, be specific. Know exactly what your market share currently is and what you would like for it to be one, three and five years down the road. Then, outline a clear strategy to meet that goal over the same timeframe.
Would you like to increase profits? How much would you like to increase them? Knowing the answer to that question can help you determine the best way to go about increasing profits. Is it by adding more customers? Or can you achieve it by getting rid of difficult, time-consuming customers in favor of ones that generate more profit?
Even doing something as simple as having your employees outline key performance indicators for themselves, their departments, and likewise for the company will help give you a vision for who can take you there and who will likely fall behind in the end.
Once you’ve established your company’s goals, be unrelenting in your efforts to stay focused on them.
Like our original analogy, daily life is filled with an endless stream of minute details that can suck up so much time, energy and resources, that there’s no room for the truly important things.
Knowing your goals is not enough. You have to make sure they always come first as your company moves forward. The rocks only fit in the jar if they’re put in first. Not last, not somewhere in-between. They have to go in first.
When it comes to making decisions for your company, consider every decision through lens of your five-year plan. Does this decision have a positive, negative or neutral effect on the company’s goals?
Just as we go back to the doctor for regular eye exams, it’s important to regularly review the company’s progress.
At the end of every year, can you see definite movement in the right direction? Is the amount of movement proportionate to the amount of time you have left? For example, at the end of the first year of your five-year plan, are you at least 20 percent along the way toward your goal? If not, then adjustments may be needed.
If your key performance indicators don’t seem to align with your goals, change them. Here are some great examples of key performance indicators to implement in your strategic planning:
- Billability: refers to the percentage of time in a given period during which an employee or set of employees are working in a revenue-producing capacity.
- Adherence to Estimate: a great working formula for this one is [(E-A)/E], where E = estimated hours to complete project and A = actual hours used to complete project.
- Percentage of Projects Profitable: the formula to measure this KPI by is # of profitable projects / # of projects
When it comes to your company, strive to have 20/20 vision. Don’t make the mistake of not having a clear vision of where you want to be in the year 2020. Set goals, establish priorities, have a five-year plan and be unrelenting in your efforts to meet them. If you do, your business may well experience the best five years it’s ever had.
About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Journyx strives to be relentlessly creative and to build tools that help you spend your time on things that matter. After all, time is all we have. Founded in 1996, Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of profitability: Journyx – project, time and expense tracking software – and Journyx PX – resource management software that provides work and financial forecasting for a complete picture of project and budget status, employee time and availability. Connect with Curt on Google+.