Planning as Management

Paradox: Consistency vs. the Brick Wall

One of the more stubborn recurrent paradoxes in all business planning is the problem of consistency vs. the brick wall. Consistency refers to a fact of life in small business strategy: it’s better to have a mediocre strategy consistently applied over three or more years than a series of brilliant strategies, each applied for six...


Management and Accountability

Every small-business owner suffers the problem of management and accountability. It’s much easier to be friends with the people you work with than to manage them well. Correct management means setting expectations well and then following up on results. Compare results¬†with expectations. People on a team are held accountable only¬†if management actually does the work...


Crystal Ball and Chain

This is an answer to a question I get way too often. I call it the crystal ball and chain problem. I’ve run into it several times as I’ve introduced the planning process into a new company or organization. People in the organization sometimes fear business planning. In the background, the fear is related to...


Set Expectations and Follow Up

I was caught on a plane once with the One Minute Manager book, by Kenneth Blanchard. I recommend that book, it’s easy to read — about one short plane ride’s worth — and easier to absorb. And I feel like it boils down to setting expectations with people and then following up, afterwards, with reviewing...


A Good Business Plan is Never Done

A good business plan is never done. If your business plan is finished, then your company is also finished. It’s a lot like the legendary farmer’s axe, that has had its handle changed four times and its blade changed three times, but it’s still the same axe. As your company gets used to the planning...


Business Plans Are Always Wrong — But Vital

It’s a simple statement: all business plans are wrong, but nonetheless vital. Paradoxical, perhaps, but still very true. All business plans are wrong because we’re human, we can’t help it, we’re predicting the future, and we’re going to guess wrong. But they are also vital to running a business because they help us track changes...


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