Your organization should have all it needs to successfully handle your priorities – and ultimately achieve the goals that will drive your strategic vision – if you have a robust operations plan in place.
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Following are some of the key elements that help develop an operational business plan:
- Take a start with your strategic plan
At the end of the day, an operating plan is a tool for implementing your strategic strategy. As a result, it is critical to ensure that you have a solid strategic plan in place and that everyone participating in your efforts is aware of it. It will be like trying to arrange a vacation without knowing where you are going if you don’t have this advice.
If you can’t explain how a component of your operations plan contributes to the achievement of a specific strategic goal, it shouldn’t be included in your strategy.
- Keep most important goals on priority
When it comes to operations plans, there is a basic rule: the more complicated they are, the less likely a team will follow them successfully.
Focus on the most important goals to avoid developing a convoluted tome of a strategy. Break down your strategic plan into one-year targets before you start working on your operations strategy.
They could be:
- Organizational reorganization
- Measures to ensure quality
- Improved delivery times
- More time is spent by employees on professional development.
Select three to five initiatives that will help you achieve your long-term objectives, and then establish metrics to track your progress. These key performance indicators (or KPIs) will be one of your most effective success tools.
- Use indicators:
Your KPIs will have a significant impact on the performance of your operations plan, therefore choosing the appropriate ones is crucial. Leading indicators are the most effective metrics since they foretell what will happen in the future and allow you to change your strategy accordingly. Lagging indications, on the other hand, only show you when it’s too late that you’re slipping behind.
Sales meetings or calls each week, for example, could be a significant leading indicator if your goal is to hit a certain sales barrier. You might be able to estimate how many calls it takes to close a transaction based on your previous experience. This will allow you to use phone calls to see if you’re on track to meet your sales targets.
- Work on purposeful KPIs
The KPIs you select will direct everyone in your company’s work for the coming year. While a result, as you construct those KPIs, you should consider a wide range of opinions from your team.
If your company has 15 or fewer employees, you might wish to arrange an annual planning session where everyone works together to develop the KPIs for the coming year. Larger companies may want to limit participation to their executive teams. In any situation, the idea is to incorporate a diverse set of viewpoints in the planning process – but not so many that making good decisions becomes difficult.
- Communication is key:
Set aside time at the start of the year to communicate and debate your KPIs with your entire team. Everyone must understand why you chose these precise measures, why they are important, how they will assist your organization reaches its objectives, and what role each individual may play in achieving success.
It’s difficult to stress the importance of team buy-in and communication. Hold regular meetings – ideally weekly – to discuss organizational progress on your KPIs and any challenges that have arisen. Team members should be able to track their personal growth and performance every week, whether through meetings, dashboards, or some other method.