Plan on a page – Mark MacLeod

January 17, 2023 - Mark MacLeod

Plan on a page

There is wisdom in simplicity. Simple machines or processes don’t break down as often. Simple messages are more easily remembered.

How do you simplify all of your strategic planning for the business into something easily remembered and executed? One tool that I have used with great success is a plan on a page.

As the name suggests, this documents reduces all of your strategic planning and budgeting for the year into a one page summary. Something that can be printed, easily displayed and is always handy to reference.

How to create your plan on a page:

Across the columns write the months of the year.

Down the rows create space for each functional area of the business.

Have each functional head go through their planning and surface up key results or outputs across the year. These could include when key hires will be made, key projects finished, new product launches, etc, etc.

There are leading indicators that tell you whether your revenue (which is a lagging indicator) is on track. So, I would include key metrics/ diagnostics from your revenue funnel in this page as well.

Everything on this page is then given a status:

Green – on track

Yellow – some risk

Red – Not on track

Here is a simple example. Just to give you a sense for what this looks like. Only the most important things should make it onto this document. And if your team is being honest, everything should be yellow by default until you know HOW and WHEN it will be achieved, at which point it can be green.

Now all of the meat and intelligence in your planning lies in other documents. The purpose of this is to create focus and clarity and to more easily enable monitoring of the entire plan.

I know what you’re thinking: it almost seems too simple to be useful, right? That’s the key. Simplicity enables clarity. No broken telephone. No misunderstanding.

Done right, this becomes a living document. You review it each time the leadership team meets. Without seeing lengthy project updates you know instantly if a project is on track for not.

This is efficient and powerful for all leaders, but especially for the CEO who needs to know where to allocate her time for maximum impact.

Give it a try with your business. Summarize all of your key results and initiatives with dates on a single page with real time status. Review it regularly and see how your entire leadership focuses around making those key results happen.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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