In business it is essential that there are structures to any organisation and from within those structures it is crucial that the business prepares strategies and plans. These strategies and plans will take into account areas such as the market sector the business operates in, peaks and troughs in relation to sales trends, staffing levels in relation to busy and quiet periods, marketing planning, staff training, budgeting, and cash flow analysis and so on.
There really is a huge amount of preparation needed in order for a business not only to function properly but to ultimately survive. The stark reality is that without a sufficient amount of time set aside preparing a business for what lies ahead then that business is more than likely staring down the barrel of a gun.
I myself do a significant amount of my own business planning when cycling my road bike. I recently joined “The Biscuit Club” who has an appropriately club motto “Everything Stops for Tea!”
Since joining the Club in August I have literally cycled thousands of kilometres around our wonderful County and dare I say further afield into Kilkenny and Wexford. I have been inspired by some of the most jaw dropping scenery that would quite rightly find pride of place on the Channel 4 programme Location, Location, Location – I hope you are reading this Kirstie and Phil. We are simply surrounded by some of the most stunning backdrops in Ireland – FACT. And it is not as though I have not explored these routes by car, as I have, it is just that when you are moving much slower you have the time to take it all in and believe me there is an awful lot to take in.
This easy access to coast, mountain and valley give me the time to plan in my head and in many respects take back what has inspired me whilst out cycling and build those experiences into my forward planning. And in early November I prepared an article whilst I sat on the strand, in Tramore, chatting to the Mayor Lola O’Sullivan, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by people in t-shirts, having returned at warp speed from Kilkenny that was bathed in nothing but cold damp misty fog!
As a side, I do know that we need to more to do promote what is on our doorstep and we must push the semi state bodies such as Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to bring more and more tourists into Waterford and the South East, as we really do have so much to offer. And each and every one of us who live, work and play in Waterford have must also start espousing and championing what we have to offer. The simple fact is that NOT enough of us from Waterford champion the City and County to the extent you see in other Cities and Counties. And if we don’t start shouting soon we will very quickly become the Nations bad news story.
The need to prepare is paramount to driving an organisation forward and it is essential that the constituent parts i.e. staff/personnel of an organisation contribute. You may not be aware that the new City and County Council are currently preparing a very comprehensive Corporate Plan that will cover the next five years of the Council’s operations. The discussion around this plan started a number of Council meetings ago and at the November full Council meeting the draft and updated plan was considered by our 32 Councillors and the Council Executive.
At previous meetings Councillors were asked for their own input and at the November meeting it was revealed that of the 32 Councillors OLNY 3 had supplied and put forward written submissions, and it was inferred that there may have been a number of additional “verbal” submissions. During the meeting, and perhaps due mostly to the media presence, there were a number of Councillors wishing to add to this document by giving additional suggestions and contributions, but as the Mayor pointed out the time had passed and there had been ample opportunity to contribute. Full credit to those few Councillors who took time to give an input, but to have such low level of effort from everyone else is to say at the very least disappointing, but more crucially it does show a complete disregard for the need to prepare.
A business organisation would not have the time to fail to prepare as they are operating in a commercial world that plainly does not stand still. It is constantly moving and evolving at an accelerated pace and if everyone from within an organisation is not prepared to take the time to invest in that business then said business will fail. We do need to see a businesslike approach to Council with our Councillors preparing for meetings and more importantly preparing their contribution to documents such as the Corporate Plan well in advance of scheduled meeting dates. This will in turn free up Council time for much wider and important issues such as job creation, job retention, promoting the City etc etc.
I often see many businesses and organisations not investing enough time and energy in the pursuit of accurate preparation and planning. If you lose sight of where you want your business to go how can you properly prepare for what is coming.
You often hear many people saying that “practice makes perfect”. This of course is complete and utter rubbish as the right phrase should be “correct practice makes perfect”. If your practice simply consists of repeating the wrong processes over and over again you will never get it right. The right thing to do is identify where you are going wrong, correct those mistakes and practice doing the right things at the right time. This way you will continually improve your performance and more importantly you will bring your colleagues along with you as they will strive to better themselves as they see your performance levels increase.
It is therefore essential that business leaders, business owners and organisation engage with their greatest assets, their staff, and get them involved with the planning process. Time must be invested with personnel to ensure that preparation becomes part of the day to day workings of a business or organisation.
If the “Boss” is not prepared to invest his or her time and energy into strategic planning then he or she has quite simply failed to prepare and therefore they need to prepare to fail.
Michael Garland, founder of bizBoost.