Have you ever had a good operational plan and it just didn’t seem to work? No one big thing killed your projections. No matter what you did, how hard you tried, or how diligent you were to the market, the numbers just didn’t materialize at the end of the year. That’s because there is a hidden force within your organization that takes away your profits a little bite at a time. On close examination some are found to be big bites and some are small, multiple bites. This organizational inefficiency is called heat loss and will defeat your annual targets.
The operational plan is a busy document, containing a number of important components. They are:
- Annual targets
- Quarterly target(s)
- A comprehensive tasks list with respective accountabilities, authorities, and responsibilities
- Coordinating instructions
- Concept of operation
The operational plan is where you start to get very specific about things to do for the next year. A technique used to create operational alignment is to present the total concept of what you will be doing but in a thumbnail format. Write a short paragraph defining how you will be approaching the first year. Be as specific as necessary with strategic business units and staff sections to ensure they understand the total plan and the part they are playing. Consider this a mini-executive summary. Now you have the components of the operational plan in place. This gives you a good summary of the status of your current reality. Building the short-term plan required you to be brutal when examining your present performance and the potential capacities. From this point you need to complete an additional level of analysis to determine where your plan may fail.