Wow, August is upon us and there are only a few months left in 2021. How time flies by when there are lots of things going on in the business. To some that is a great thing and others are overwhelmed by the activity. For some August is still a summertime break for employee’s vacations and other events surrounding the time just prior to the final push for the end of the year.
Years ago, when working in corporate America, August was always a time we had our business and strategic planning sessions for the coming calendar/fiscal year. It is a time when things are slightly slower in pace than after Labor Day when the final push is top of mind. This time of review, reflection and planning was critical to the growth and architecture of success.
Enough data was available to analyze the trends of the first 6 to 7 months of the year. The future pipeline of sales was fairly well setup so some predictions about what part of the revenue stream in the coming months would be achieved and what portion would unfortunately trickle into the following years numbers. During this time of analyzing what was going well and what needed attention we typically used the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats/Trends) approach to guide the conversations.
By using the matrix placing strengths and weaknesses on the horizontal axis and opportunities and threats on the vertical axis, we would capture events, actions, sales, competition etc. into the appropriate quadrant for further discussion. In an ideal world we hoped to have many items in the organization’s strengths and opportunities top right quadrant. This is where we identified breakthroughs we wanted to accelerate and reproduce more of these results. We also wanted to steer clear of anything which ended up in the weaknesses and threats lower left quadrant. These might be associated with failures or those things which were not in the best direction for the organization. We always ended up with some things which were strengths but also were challenged by the threats around us. These we needed to muscle up and have a stronger battle mentality to overcome the distractions. Let us not forget about those items which were opportunities, but our organization was just not strong in those areas of execution. These typically showed up as frustrations and need to get the proper priority/attention to move into a place of breakthrough.
By taking the time to assess what had happened, what is happening and what may happen and place them into the analysis of the SWOT matrix it allowed us to set better strategies moving forward not only for the current year but also stage for the next year. This routine of analysis needs to be part of your recurring best practices. You cannot wait until the end results of this year to be planning next year. A good practice is to start your analysis in August and plan on having the upcoming year strategically planned out no later than mid-November. This allows for a concentrated focus on current year as it winds down and allows for everyone to equally enjoy the holidays from Thanksgiving through the new year.
Looking to start up a best practice of analyzing and planning your next big successful year? Give JKL Associates a call to get started. MI (313) 527-7945 FL (407 984-7246