Planning should become management and better business, long-term progress towards goals, prioritizing, and focus; but you have to do it. It’s up to you to make your planning work. It’s not really about the plan, per se; it’s about the discipline to use the plan to run the business.

If you think I am pushing too hard on this, fee free to jump into the planning at any time by skipping ahead to another chapter.

The plan-as-you-go business plan normally grows organically; it evolves as your business evolves. With monthly review schedules and performance tracking, your planning, unlike the classic plan document, stays alive and present — on top of your mind where you consider it regularly.

For that to work, you have to keep assumptions at the forefront. You have to develop accountability by setting goals, usually with metrics, and then following up on performance with people.

Keep the plan visible, to all team members, using the review meetings if nothing else. Ideally, key points, numbers, metrics, and assumptions are somewhere that team members can see them.

People become involved with the plan and committed to the plan. You can’t really have people believing in the planning goals if they don’t participate. Goals have to be credible and realistic. People who are charged with implementing the plan need to be involved in developing and managing the plan.

What we have here is a problem somewhat like healthy diet and regular exercise. Pretty much everybody agrees that those are good things, but not everybody actually eats well and exercises regularly. So too with good planning process. Knowing what to do doesn’t mean you’ll do it.

Hint: Set the review schedule ahead of time and invite the team members. Show the metrics. Suggest some key agenda points that you garner from the milestones. People need to believe in accountability for accountability to work.

I talk about this more in Chapter 6, Planning Process.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.