Roy's Blog

January 27, 2010

HOW BIG do you want to be?

Traditional business planning methods have issues; they’re all screwed up

This is one of three posts intended to explain how to create a Strategic Game Plan. It is a proven and practical process that incorporates the answers to three critical questions.

It begins with the HOW BIG do you want to be question.


Traditional strategy-building methodology typically begins with an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It then moves on to developing an overall strategic direction. Objectives and action plans are struck. Finally the expected financial results are produced. They are the output of the strategy-creation process.

In my experience, the financial results get scrutinized by the top executive and often get modified as the CFO and CEO decide they simply aren’t aggressive enough. Sound familiar? As a result, higher growth and financial numbers are driven out of the tabled strategy rather than adjusting the strategy to deliver more aggressive financial results.

This is a huge mistake. Assuming that the assumptions behind the plan are reasonable and acceptable, forcing more aggressive numbers from a strategy without increasing strategic risk is a fool’s game.

The expected higher performance numbers will not happen.

My Strategic Game Plan process is to treat growth and financial expectations as inputs to the strategy-building process. Do you want to grow top line revenues 25% over the next 24 months? Or would you be satisfied with growing at 10%?

Clearly the former target would require more resources and would entail greater risk than the more modest scenario.

In addition, the character of the strategies would be different. The 25% growth strategy would require a different set of actions than the 10% incremental option.

For example bolder growth expectations might require new markets and strategic partnerships that might not be necessary under a modest growth plan. The bolder the plan the more you have to move away from organic growth.

So declare right up front the growth and financials you intend to achieve and THEN develop the strategy to deliver them. And if you have been growing at 10% don’t expect doing more of what you have been doing will be good enough to deliver on a 25% plan.

It won’t happen. You will have to be more creative, more aggressive and be more accepting of more risk. If not, suck it up and be prepared to stay with your 10% strategy.

HOW BIG Rules:
1. A growth goal should be bold enough to drive innovation and creativity.
2. If HOW BIG is “realistic” its not appropriate. Pick another number.
3. Your chosen growth goal should make you perspire.
4. HOW BIG is a declaration of intent without a specific idea on how to get there.
5. A growth goal should disrupt past performance not trend line it.
6. HOW BIG detests extrapolation.
7. Choose a 24-month plan period. It better aligns with execution and allows for faster response to unforeseen events.
8. HOW BIG has no time for 5-year plans.

A client’s feedback: “I invited Roy to speak to the Vancouver Women Presidents’ Organization on his Strategic Game Plan creation process and it was an overwhelming success. Not only did the attendees take away Roy’s extremely practical methods to develop a strategy that can be executed, they all enjoyed the learning experience. I would recommend Roy to any organization looking to take their game to the next level.” — Barbara Mowat, President, Impact Communications Ltd. and GroYourBiz

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other Strategic Game Plan articles you might like…
HOW BIG do you wasn’t to be?
WHO do you want to SERVE?
HOW do you intend to compete and WIN?

  • Posted 1.27.10 at 01:52 pm by Roy Osing
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