Wow! Is it me or yesterday were we docking a boat on a lake in the sun, we blinked, and woke up stuck in our driveway in 6 inches of snow. While we can lament how fast summer turned to fall and so on, the fact remains: we’re in a fast descent to 2014. If you haven’t finished your strategic planning, you may be eyebrows deep in it right now. While you’re meeting with your team and other internal stakeholders keep this scenario in mind.
Planning in a vaccuum, the same failed plans just with new buzzwords
A board room filled with senior management members immersed in year-end strategic planning. The stench of stale coffee fills the air and blood shot, un-blinked eyes stare at the white board. The guy at the head of the room is bellowing direction seemingly plucked from thin-air. “In 2014 we’re going to do X, and it will drive Y and because of that Z will happen and everyone will love us and those in this room will make lots of money, we have lots of upside because of our strategery and (insert another leadership buzzword here) and blah blah blah.”
The senior managers all nod along in epic agreement, this is the best strategy ever! Never mind the fact that it was designed in a vacuum, emanated from one individual (not the team at large) and missed perhaps the most important stakeholder of all: the customer.
The customer is the one with the power. Not the guy at the whiteboard.
As you’re conducting year-end planning, we must bring the voice of our customers into that room. The voice of reason. Beware strategic planning that gives no attention to data or influence collected from customer touch points during the course of the previous year. For example: satisfaction surveys that unveil a need to focus on customer service as an objective in 2014 planning, pain points or quarterly business reviews with clients that reveal new product or service offerings that dictate 2014 road map for new revenue lines etc. Whatever the metrics are and no matter what your business is: don’t care more about yourself then your customers in your planning process. It happens too often and good opportunities for growth and innovation are missed.
Remember, without the customer no one in that room with the dry eyes would be there. So give customers the voice they deserve. What are the challenges you face in year end planning?