Annual Planning for Success: The Missing Link Between Planning and Success

By Ted Skinner


dateThu, Jan 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

I love my job! I get to work with people to make their business hopes and dreams come true. I mean, whatAnnual Planning for Success is not to like about working with teams to help them envision, plan, execute and achieve their growth initiatives? I am lucky to be able to help lift leaders out of the day to day firefighting mindset to work consciously on their growth initiatives. Too often, companies get caught up in the immediacy of the urgent and don’t take the time required to work their long-term strategic initiatives. Just because it is urgent doesn’t mean it is important, and that’s where Rhythm Software steps in to fill the gap.

I had one of my greatest moments working with a customer lately, and it inspired me to write this blog post. I was working with the CEO of a software as a service company that recently joined the Rhythm family, and I was assigned to be their consultant due to my extensive background in the industry. The entire management team had already read the Rhythm book and had been using the methodology to run their fast growing company for a couple of years. This worked well for them as they grew from a small company to a mid-size company at a rapid pace and began to take on new investors to help fuel their growth.

However, they had only been implementing the methodology with our paper tools and spreadsheets, rather than using Rhythm software. They got to a point where they knew that they were hitting a ceiling of complexity, and growth became harder. As their teams had grown and the number of employees tripled, it was much harder to have the consistent conversations surrounding projects, priorities and initiatives needed to solve the problems and challenges that were sure to spring up. Excel, emails, whiteboards and other tools just weren’t up to the task, and they knew they needed to make a change. (Not sure if you’ve outgrown Excel? Check out this six question test to find out if you have.) After a thorough needs analysis with our team, they decided to purchase Rhythm Software to achieve the breakthrough in execution needed to empower them to complete more initiatives successfully.

I worked with their management team in order to create an executable quarterly plan that would pass the four tests of an excellent plan: financial, focus, energy and accountability. Even a plan that passes three of the four tests won’t work, you must have all four bases covered as they are interdependent. While we were working through the plan, I was politely interrupted by the CEO who said, “Ted, this is the missing link. We have had good plans before, but this shows us exactly where the holes are and allows us to rectify them prior to executing the plan.” The way the software provided immediate visual insight into their plan, and its holes, quickly allowed them to address the gaps. Once that was clear, they were able to build their best plan ever with the help of the software and increase their probability of success. As we quickly approach our next planning session, I can’t wait to hear the details of their retrospective meeting and apply it to our next plan. The Rhythm of quarterly planning and using the software to make continual adjustments is already paying off.

Like many companies, they could clearly outline the goals that they wanted to achieve with their planning, but the plans always lost some fidelity while translating them into an executable plan. This is one of the major reasons most companies can’t achieve their goals as they confuse the differences between strategic thinking and execution planning. Without the right system, it is hard to thoroughly test a plan before it makes it out of the lab and into the wild. Using Rhythm software, you are able to see the plan through one of our many patented energy maps and see where the plan potentially falls short prior to releasing it to the marketplace, saving unknown amounts of time, energy, frustration, and money. This is one of many ways that the entire Rhythm playbook - its methodology, framework, and software - works together to increase your return on payroll.

Yes, I love my job, and I love helping my clients achieve the breakthrough success that they have been seeking. Take a minute to read this blog post and test your current plan. If you are looking to take your company to the next level, there is a dedicated Rhythm Consultant that would be a perfect match for you, too. You can schedule a demo with our business needs expert here to see if Rhythm is the right solution for you. If you’re not ready yet, check out all of the free tools that we have in our resource center.


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Ted Skinner


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images