Annual plans, must-have or mandatory?

The annual planning cycle is still in full swing and plans for 2023 are in the works. Sometimes full of clear choices and well-considered focus areas, but unfortunately still too often as a compulsory activity for budgeting or justification of investments, for instance.

For those, then, the time may now instinctively be dawning again to get on with the ‘real’ work. The downside of dismissing annual plans as a ‘must do’, however, is that the issues of the day remain decisive and the vision on clients is limited to the next advice or the next matter.

Besides, one can also choose to work without an annual plan. The advantage: it cannot fail because there is no plan anyway. But where a non-existent plan cannot fail, the chances of success are also considerably less.

And that is a problem because:
  • Clients want to know what a firm stands for;
  • The ‘war on talent’ means potential employees have jobs up for grabs, making standing out positively with a distinctive face and vision a must;
  • In our hyper-specialized society, an all-round firm claiming expertise in all areas and sectors is no longer credible and certainly not distinctive;
  • Without a plan with clear choices, discussions on e.g. marketing, target groups et cetera keep coming back and the wheel has to be reinvented again and again;
  • As an office, you run the risk of becoming “customer-driven” instead of “customer-centric”;
  • You miss the opportunity to give employees a voice in the development of the practice which is unlikely to improve their commitment to the office;
  • A plan provides direction and scope to adjust and increase agility. Regular review and testing against internal and external developments ensure that you can sail sharply into the wind without losing sight of your goals.
It’s all about execution 

So having a clear plan is important. Ok. But that alone still does not make it a must-have: only when combined with the right focus on execution and decisiveness you leave the ‘must-have’-phase. Just as training for a marathon only becomes meaningful when you actually run the 42 kilometers, an annual plan stands or falls by its execution. If it lacks this, it is a waste of time and energy invested. It is at the expense of internal motivation and, moreover, you run the risk of missing out on interesting customers or markets.

Only good will is not enough either, because getting an annual plan in motion is quite a difficult task. For instance, because the goals, the route to them and/or the deadlines are not clear to the entire organization, there are too many distractions to realize the goals or the ‘commercial governance’ is not properly set up.

Need help? 

In short, a lot of challenges both in making and executing good plans. Especially for those who only do it once a year. Should you need help with this in the coming months: BlueWall has extensive experience in guiding offices in drawing up concrete plans, clear goals with accompanying road maps and setting up commercial governance. After all, why settle for a toothless paper tiger instead of an ambitious plan that can become a stimulating guide for office development?

Want to know more about our approach or need help or a push in the right direction? I would be happy to help. Call +31 6 39 89 93 84 or email wout@blue-wall.com.

Questions?

Just give us a call, and we are glad to help you out.

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