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  • Writer's pictureRandy Gardiner


Q1 Numbers are in and put a smile on your face; you are making money again. The skeptic in you wonders if it is a fluke, but you know better. It is real, and it feels good to see the wheels in the company whirring along. So, you are drawn into the fray, of operations, making sure everything is done right. As are your competitors, and you feel compelled to beat them to the punch….and so it goes.

This is really the moment of “truth” for business leaders. The moment when they know they should balance working ON the business as well as working IN the business. Beating your competitor to the punch is tactical but outperforming them in the next few years requires strategic thinking, with deliberate and timely actions. It does not require a 30-year plan, but at a minimum, one for the next 3 years is practical, responsible, and actionable. So, how is that done?

The push-back coaches encounter is often one that goes; “I can’t see further ahead than three weeks, let alone three years.” That is a deflective and throw-away line from a leader who does not want to lead. Honestly, these leaders would do more planning for their daughter’s wedding than their business.

For leaders who want to lead, the response is more like; “Really, and how would I do that and what would it look like?” Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. Below is an outline of the 3 Year Vision process.

1. Gather your leadership team – For some small businesses, this may be the person in the mirror whose hair you comb, and spouse. For others it is the Owner/CEO’s direct reports; especially, sales, marketing, operations, and finance.

2. Ask the team to answer the following questions on individual post-it-notes.

In 3 years….

· What will we have accomplished?

· How will we measure success (revenue, profits, cash, customers, etc.)?

· What will we be doing differently?

· What do our employees say about us?

· What do other business outside stakeholders say about us?

· What does our company “Headline” in an industry or business publication say?

3. Go through the answers as a team and identify common themes and ideas?

4. Prioritize the themes and ideas based on positive impact (e.g., growth, competitiveness, market share, profitability, company value, employee retention)

5. Pick the top 3 to 5 and describe your THREE-YEAR VISION.

The result of this two-to-three-hour exercise will result in a focused set of positive aspirations for your business. These aspirations lay the framework for you and your team to work ON THE BUSINESS’s future, while it hum’s along each day serving customers in “transactional heaven.”

Need some help putting your 2024 Plan into action?

Schedule time with me today for a no-nonsense and no-obligation discussion on how to translate your Vision into a deliberate and timely action plan .

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