Are you Locked and Loaded for the Year?

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Are you locked and loaded for the year?

CEOs and senior management teams of emerging growth technology companies have a lot of work to do to prepare the company to truly attack the year. Here is a checklist for CEOs to help them make sure their expansion stage company is ready:

O 1. We reviewed and reaffirmed or revised our aspirations (Mission, 3-year-Vision, Values) and communicated them throughout the organization. If your aspirations are not set at this point and you are an expansion stage company, here is a series I am writing on developing company level aspirations which will help you establish them.

O 2. We created our strategic goals for the year (S.M.A.R.T. and emphasizing the 2-3 goals the company absolutely must nail for the year). They align with our aspirations, each goal has an “owner”, and we communicated the annual goals throughout the organization. Hopefully, your goals include your business growth strategies, your company development strategies, and your goals for creating competitive advantage.

O 3. We created our quarterly goals for the first quarter (S.M.A.R.T. and emphasizing the 2-3 goals the company absolutely must nail for the quarter). They align with our strategic goals for the year, each goal has an “owner”, and we communicated the quarterly goals throughout the organization. As part of your management rhythm, I wrote a more detailed post to help you become locked and loaded for each quarter starting with the first quarter.

O 4. Our quarterly goals are broken down by our departments/teams into initiatives and projects for the quarter. The department/teams committed to nailing the goals, and they are off to the races. Gaining true clarity takes a lot of work, but if each member of your team knows their goals and has real measures for which they are aiming, you stand a greater chance of nailing them!

O 5. Our budget for the year aligns with our goals and is fully vetted and approved by the management team and board. Again, it takes a lot of work to bake your strategic goals into the budgets, but this process really helps to crystallize and gain agreement on the resources you will be using to accomplish your goals!

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 possess 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 actions to improve them. As a side note, the fewer KPIs, the better, but you want to make sure you identify and use the most important ones relating to your goals!

O 7. Incentive compensation plans are in place, are fully aligned with our goals, and they are fully communicated. Again, this takes a lot of work, but really clarifying how compensation aligns with goals will help give each member of your team a financial incentive for succeeding against your goals!

O 8. 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). This requires ongoing communication which takes a lot of discipline, but the clearer each person becomes concerning what you are trying to achieve, the more they will consider the goals during the hundreds of decisions they make each week.

This is part of a very straightforward basic management system for running your business. I continue to be amazed at how everyone agrees in principle to this system but how few companies execute the system well.

We are nearing the end of January. Is your company locked and loaded for the year? If not, why not?