Given the plethora of tasks at hand on any given day, having a plan at hand is always helpful. Be it a daily task list or a year long marketing/campaign plan. This is especially true when unique or a “once in a generation” combination of events swarm together and disrupt the business as usual processes and activities. Think 911 or the oil price plummeting precipitously.
Having a plan, even a conceptual strategic version which is viewed occasionally does create focus and ensures re-alignment in times of extreme stress where deliverables are complex and requires a significant amount of focus with short turn around time frames.
It effectively allows one to Plan, Organise, Lead and Control. You might remember that from 1st year varisty studies and it’s a truth repeating itself daily. Creating a plan is daunting but consider the following when crafting your roadmap.
Objective: Clearly state the purpose of the plan in a document people can easily access. This should be succinct and excite the reader. Where possible distill the objective or messaging you are trying to convey into a word or a phrase no longer than 3. Less is more.
Stakeholders: Extracting and distilling stakeholder needs clearly in all likelihood will probably be the most frustrating part of constructing an executable plan. Removing ambiguity and agreeing on granular details are key to tick off as deliverables upfront.
Excel: Spreadsheets are one of the most underutilised business tools we have in our arsenal. Not only can you elevate your wordy plan by including budgets but these can be extended to modelling and forecasts with editable variables. Enhancing your Excel skills requires practice which will raise your confidence. Many online tutorials are available and Microsoft has a number of helpful hints.
Matrix: Using a Matrix approach allows for readers to sumamrise a year’s activity easily, key to this is understanding stakeholder needs on a granular level. As an example which Social Network platforms to engage: Facebook vs LinkedIn. These should be reflected in either the horizontal or vertical columns, the opposing category should be a time period either weeks or months. The Web is littered with templates to minimise your workload.
WIP: Your plan can’t be static, use it actively in meetings and discussions. It definitely should not be placed in the bottom draw only to be reviewed on an ad hoc basis.
Meetings: Your plan should form the basis of regular meetings to track progress and change activities as the market dynamics shift. In addition it forces participants and stakeholders to remain aligned and focuses energies on key outputs.
After a few iterations of trying different approaches in crafting and compiling your plan you will find a workable solution allowing for effecting Planning, Organising, Leading and Control. Good luck.