Do you use an opportunities list? Do you know why most people spend so much time spinning their wheels?
It’s simple, they do not have any structure to their strategic planning. They “wing it.” Strategic planning in most companies is less than strategically done!
Before we dig any deeper into that topic, what is an opportunities list?
This is NOT a task oriented “to do” list. It is a running list of major initiatives your company needs to undertake to solve issues or capitalize on opportunities.
So how does one create an opportunities list that is effective and has real “teeth”?
Think of every problem your current company has. This list could include, overhead, profits, people, lack of structure, systems etc. Just find every issue your organization has and write it down. (YES, actually write it down!) No creativity needs to happen here, just a simple list of all the issues you are currently facing.
Next, think of every opportunity your company could take advantage of. Create a new list under your issues list. Write down every opportunity you can think of that your company can capitalize on. This list could include, better hiring practices, improving your sales performance, taking on new markets etc. Just get them all down on paper.
Great so now you have a list, what next? No one has the time to work on all these things simultaneously!
The next step is to prioritize your list. This will purely depend on the current state of your business. The major rule of thumb here is to stop the bleeding first. Look for the areas where the company is bleeding and fix those issues first. For example if one thing on your list is that you have slow paying customers but you have a strong cash flow right now, this probably shouldn’t be your number one priority. If you have an empty room that no one is using and is costing you money monthly, that would be a better fit to be at the top of the list.
There is no sense in rearranging the furniture if your house is on fire.
To help prioritize the list, use your executive team. Gather together all of the leaders in your organization. Sit down for a formal meeting and walk through the list. First, have the team review the list and make sure it is complete. You can feel free to add or remove from the list at the team’s discretion.
Next, have the team prioritize the list from most important to least important. Once you have settled on the most important issue or opportunity, create a simple action plan on what happens next.
This is simple. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Professional Business Coach
I suggest reading Jon Denney’s book Unstuck. Jon is the owner of the PBCA (The alliance that certifies me as a coach) My writing, teaching, and learning is largely influenced by this man.