CEOs and senior management teams of emerging growth technology companies have a lot to do to get the company ready to truly attack the year. Here is a checklist for CEOs to make sure that your expansion stage company is ready:
O 1. We have reviewed and reaffirmed or revised our aspirations (Mission, 3-year-Vision, Values) and communicated them throughout the organization.
O 2. We have created our strategic goals for the year (S.M.A.R.T. and emphasizing the 2-3 goals that the company absolutely must nail for the year), the goals align with our aspirations, each goal has an “owner”, and we have communicated the annual goals throughout the organization.
O 3. We have created our quarterly goals for the first quarter (S.M.A.R.T. and emphasizing the 2-3 that the company absolutely must nail for the quarter), the goals align with our strategic goals for the year, each goal has an “owner”, and we have communicated the quarterly goals throughout the organization.
O 4. Our quarterly goals have been broken down by our departments/teams into initiatives and projects for the quarter, the department/teams have committed to nailing the goals, and they are off to the races.
O 5. Our budget for the year aligns with our goals, has been fully vetted by the management team and board, and the management team and board have approved the budget.
O 6. We have a clear understanding of our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on our goals and our economic modeling, and our key people have a clear understanding of what needs to be done to improve them. In addition, we have a person assigned to collecting the KPIs regularly and we have a regular meeting to review them and to help adjust what we do to improve them.
O 7. Each individual knows their goals for the quarter and year, they are aligned with our company goals, and each individual knows how their performance impacts the company performance.
O 8. Incentive compensation plans are in place, are fully aligned with our goals, and they are fully communicated.
O 9. There is clarity, alignment, and commitment throughout the organization on what the company is trying to achieve in the short, medium, and long-term (goals, strategy, and aspirations).
Note that this is not large company overhead, but rather an approach to getting everyone in the organization aligned and running as fast as possible in the exact right direction to nail your aspirations. Since it takes at least 3 iterations to get any process running smoothly, try to carve off as many of these checklist items as possible this year and try to do better next year, as it will take at least 3 years to get the work involved in your annual planning down to a low friction rhythm and really get your organization humming.