Last week I asked if your strategic plan was for real. It was noted that one of the ways to bring it to life is an operating plan that spells out what gets done each year in support of the long-range plan. This week I want to take that idea a step further, based on a tool used effectively by one of our favorite clients, a Georgia-based company that sells and services industrial equipment. Their workers are mostly field workers and their managers, so a nice 20-page description of their key operating goals is unlikely to get much attention. So they chose a scoreboard approach to get their annual message across. Here’s how it works:

The scoreboard is broken down into sections for key departments – Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, Finance & Accounting. They developed a spreadsheet (a chart for you non-techies) showing the operating goal area, and metrics being measured, including the target and the current status, for example:

  • Sales & Marketing: prospect leads developed, leads converted into sales, units sold, sales dollars, number of customers under service contracts, etc.
  • Customer Service: Service hours billed weekly and year to date, service revenue billed, etc.
  • Finance & Accounting (my personal favorite): Total revenues, gross and net profit margin percentages, cash collections, past due receivables, and more.

Further, each metric has a champion, identified on the chart, that member of the team most responsible for managing the company’s effort to hit that goal. Each week the chart is updated and shared with the entire team. Everyone sees how they, and everyone else, are doing against their operating goals. They can see month-to-month progress toward the annual goal; and whether they’re getting better or falling off is easy for all to see.

What’s the point I’m trying to make? You need to meet your annual goals if you’re going to meet your long-term strategic goals. Then you need to communicate those annual goals to the people in your company who are the boots on the ground for getting things done; and communicating means effectively sending and receiving. If your team won’t read the 20-page plan and keep it in mind every day, every week, then find another way to remind them – a way that resonates with them.

And find a way to reward them for the results they deliver. Our client made the Inc. Magazine list of Best Workplaces in 2022. The relationship between

  • their method of communicating their goals,
  • their success in hitting those goals, and
  • their employees voting them a best place to work

is not an accident. It’s the owner/operators of that business recognizing that contented workers produce better results for their employers. Is our client perfect at this? Not yet, or they wouldn’t need us, but they’re actively working on it in ways that make sense, and they’re getting better each month.

How’s that for a feel good story? Want to write one for your company? Call us.

We are Your CFO for Rent.

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