Financial year end is upon us so it’s a natural time to direct our thinking to the future. But how can we do this when every day presents another change in play. The Brexit, Trump and May results were tumultuous, far from predictable and may have far-reaching consequences. Recent Australian elections have had more logical outcomes but that doesn’t help us predict our future environment.
Planning to be nimble
WA has a new government who is still yet to write its first budget. In these financially uncertain times there seems to be more bad news around than good, yet flexible operators are still finding rewarding niches. Being prepared to shift focus towards new opportunities is critical. Innovation may be the new governmental buzz-word but, in commerce, it’s always been the driver of earnings growth. Refining methods, utilising smarter technologies and seeking out new, emerging markets, all play a part in the growth equation. Banks are currently keen to lend and fond of a shapely balance sheet. Working on improving operational responsiveness, while maintaining a watch on internal financial impacts, will deliver rewards.
Understanding what we want
The importance of investing time to achieve clarity on near and long-term goals cannot be underrated. Achievement won’t occur, nor can it be measured, without an identified target. Seemingly unattainable goals can be achieved once they are envisaged, embraced and the necessary resources committed to their enablement.
Strategies… and actions
It’s hard to reach a destination without a map. Strategies may provide the map but defining the path is only the beginning. We also need a vehicle, which is created by ensuring the whole business commits to the goal. We can then look at the team and fuel – staffing, operational activities and budgets – required to drive the vehicle and the paths in need of maintenance or development – our capital infrastructure requirements. Considering all elements gives a true sense of the tasks involved and provides tools to measure progress.
In a changing environment, options are useful
As part of the overall exercise, it’s wise to factor in monitoring and review points. Checking the landscape, measuring progress and acknowledging steps completed, provides an opportunity to consider fine tuning, variation or pause.
And planning is a discipline
Planning requires deliberate effort and commitment. Even so, objectivity may elude. It can be hard to see the wood when among the trees. Involving people from all levels and disciplines across the business, mixed with the big-picture viewpoint of specialist advisers, adds value throughout the planning process. Inclusion encourages an organisational embracing of change, giving clear direction for the entire business.