Embrace the Planning Process to Achieve Global Success

by | Oct 16, 2020

Many managers dread the annual corporate planning process – – the hard work, the scramble to meet deadlines and the time to obtain executive support for the plan. Unfortunately, when completed, most plans stay on the shelf and remain unopened during the operating cycle. The internal “Sturm und Drang” related to the planning process often obscures the value of the plan as a management tool. Too often managers’ view the planning process as an exercise in futility, rather than use the plan as an internal expectation management tool and a screen to qualify external stakeholders’ commitment to success. Nowhere is this more important than in executing the company’s global initiatives. Key ways managers can leverage their planning to promote global success include:
  1. Use the plan to manage expectations within the organization. Establish defined milestones and metrics to track progress toward the milestones. Managers can use the plan as an “early warning system” to track progress and manage internal communications and expectations. Most management does not like surprises and an effective plan can function as a tool to reduce surprises that can damage and/or destroy credibility.
  2. Use the plan to engage global stakeholders and test global business relationships. Too often global business discussions focus on how the outcomes of a specific initiative will be divided; unfortunately, these discussions often ignore what each party will contribute to promote a successful outcome. The plan can serve as a tool to build strong communications, increase understanding and establish trust and support.
  3. Use the plan to screen and test potential global business relationships. For example, is “working the plan” part of the stakeholder’s daily business process? A commitment to building the plan is a good indicator of a commitment to the business relationship. If there is no time to “plan the work” how will there be time to “work the plan?”

Commitment to a dynamic plan is a management tool many companies fail to use. The plan provides a low-cost foundation for effective internal communications, builds the experience-base of working together with external stakeholders essential to global success, and specifies each party’s contribution to successful execution of the plan.

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