What works (and what doesn’t) in planning

“People confuse goals with plans. If your plan is to double your revenue in 2020, that’s not a plan, but a desired outcome.

What else doesn’t work in planning?

  • Brute force: you can’t grow 3x by working 3x harder (only possible for short sprints).
  • Hopium: “If we visualize achieving the goal, it will happen!”
  • Spaghetti testing: “Let’s try a bunch of ideas, and see what works.”

What actually works:

  1. Define non-negotiable outcomes, where you wanna be in 1 year.
  2. Map out the gap between where you are now, and where you wanna be. 
  3. Get clarity on the obstacles: why aren’t we there already? What are the main problems we need to overcome? (Sidenote: don’t confuse problems with symptoms; e.g. lack of leads or low retention rate are symptoms, not problems).
  4. Decide on the key initiatives / projects to implement to tackle the key obstacles
  5. Figure out the critical drivers for each key outcome (e.g. for the outcome of 1 m in sales we need to close 1000 deals (critical driver), to get 1000 deals we need 10k leads, to get 10k leads we need …. and so on). Start measuring the execution of critical drivers on a week by week basis (build dashboards). When the outcome is missing, so are the critical drivers!”

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