Simple Steps to Create a 1 Page Plan

Posted by on Sunday, September 25th, 2016 in BLOG

Simple Steps to Create a 1 Page Plan1 page plan

Use a 1 page plan for scaling a company the right way requires that you balance keeping a clear focus on those fewer, better things that will make a leveraged difference for your company and that you stay flexible to learn and adjust as you go.

On one side of the equation you have to balance the need for flexibility—markets change, opportunities arise, and tactics fail. Any action plan that is for too long of a time horizon fails to allow you the ability to morph and adapt as you go.

On the other side of the equation is the need for you to be able to build momentum, and for your staff to have the time to get meaningful blocks of work done. If you change your company’s focus too frequently, not only do you lose all your momentum, but your staff becomes dizzy with too much change.

The key to executing on your strategy to accomplish your business goals lies in the one page plan.  The one page plan is the perfect amount of space to bridge your detailed business plan and detailed business segment plans, your big-picture goals, which likely have a two- to five-year timeline or longer, and your executive planning and daily actions.

The one page format provides you with a 30,000 foot view of the objectives and goals in your detailed plans.  It affords you enough details to maintain control without getting lost in the details of execution.

In a moment I’ll share a simple, 1 page plan format.  

First though, you may ask, “Why one page?”

It’s because I’ve learned from working with hundreds of companies that in the rush of the day to day, you need to be able to take in your company action plan in one whole moment. If your plan is 2 pages, or 6, or 12, you simply won’t use it effectively.

We want our clients to review their action plans as an accountability check each week, to see what they as a company need to be focusing on and where things stand. Because their plans are 1-page, they can take it in with one look.

This  discipline  of  working  with  a 1 page plan has helped us discover   the     “one thing” they need to address or complete before anything else can be accomplished effectively.  The one page format gives you a succinct, powerful visual tool to lay out what your next “one thing”  will look like.

Step One: Pick Your Top Three “Focus Areas”

Sit down and decide on what the top three focus areas for your business are.  You may decide that your focus areas are on increasing your lead flow, improving your sales conversion system, speeding up your collections cycle, or making a specific key hire.

Your focus areas are the three most important areas for your business to highlight during the coming weeks.  Sure, you’ll still have to take care of business, dealing with your normal operational needs to push the business forward, but your focus will pinpoint where you will invest a portion of your best resources because you know that this is what will really help you scale and develop your business.

Why do we limit your company to three points? Because too many top priorities means you have no top priorities.

Step Two: Clarify the Criteria for Success for Each of Your Three Focus Areas

Now that you’ve picked your three focus areas, it is time to clarify your criteria of success for each. What would you need to accomplish in order to feel successful in this focus area?

Generally we suggest you try to pick criteria of success that you have control over (or at the very least you over which have a great deal of influence.) It’s important to look for criteria that are as objectively and quantitatively measurable as possible. When criteria are too subjective, you may reach the end of the quarter without agreeing on whether or not you succeeded.

Also, we suggest that for every focus area you pick one “Key Performance Indicators” (KPI) to track. If you look to this KPI to determine your performance, you’ll know if your company is on track to succeed in this focus area.

Your written criteria of success for each Focus Area gives you a clear yardstick against which to measure progress as you go.

Plus, laying out your criteria of success for each Focus Area before you map out your action steps provides clear clues for what you’ll actually need to take over the quarter. Most of your action steps are evident in your criteria of success.

Step Three: Lay Out Your Key Action Steps and Milestones for This Quarter

Now is the time to lay out the key action steps and milestones you need to take or reach to accomplish your criteria of success for each Focus Area over the coming quarter.

In order to keep the focus of a 1 page plan, you’ll likely break each Focus Area down into five to seven action steps and milestones.

While your plan must be detailed enough to guide your actions, it must not be so detailed that you feel overwhelmed or lose yourself in the minutia.

For each action step, pick a specific team member to be ultimately responsible for executing the step by a definite date. While you can have multiple people contribute to a specific step or steps, you need to pick one person who is tasked with the responsibility and authority to get that step done and done well. We say that this person “owns” the task. This sense of ownership is critical to your success. It’s hard to hold anyone accountable for missed milestones when it wasn’t clear who was really responsible in the first place.

With this structure, the owner doesn’t have to do all of the work herself—she just needs to be responsible for making sure that it gets done in the best way possible within the company.

I hope you found these ideas on creating your own one page company action plan helpful.

Good luck to you in growing your company.  We’d love to hear about your successes so reach out anytime.

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