Tag Archive for: business owners

The Art of Moving Forward is a Top Priority of Every Business Leader and Entrepreneur. But How?

If you wish for a steady stride to navigate the challenges of the coming year, putting yourself in the driver’s seat is key. After all you are the navigator.


As the captain of the ship, what is your highest priority? When we put the question in this nautical context, the answer is obvious; Always be crystal clear on your destination and how you intend to get there.


This sailing metaphor makes this assertion intuitively obvious. It is absurd to think that a captain of a ship, a plane or a bus driver would venture forth without knowing the destination and having plotted the route.


Nor would we, as passengers or crew, choose to embark on any such journey.


Once the captain and his leadership team are clear on the destination and route, the next step is to share this information with the crew and help them understand their responsibilities on the trip.


Inevitably, course corrections are made along the way: route changes, timelines adjusted, emergencies resolved. The plan is routinely updated and communicated to the crew.


As the leader of your enterprise, how effective are you at documenting and communicating the future direction of your business?


  • Are your short- and long-term goals clearly defined?


  • Does your leadership team know and agree on the “route” – the steps you need to take to reach your destination?


  • Do you have a culture that supports the venture? Does everyone understand the “rules of the village”?


  • How clear are you and your team on where you are today? is there a common understanding of what you sell, who you sell to, your partners and alliances, and your competitors.


  • How clear is the crew on their individual areas of contribution?


  • Do you have an adequate number of “seats on the bus”, and are they filled with qualified people?


A business without a working plan is like a ship sailing without a destination.

The art of moving forward requires mapping, communication and action steps just as is required for reaching any destination, whether in business or in your personal life. 


For more information and easy to use tools on maintaining a working plan for your business please visit our web site. Share your views and insights about planning with others on the “community comments” section.


Jan 27, 2021                                                             © Plan Genie

Today, I want talk about some of the things that keep business owners awake at night.

Let me start by relaying a story I heard a number of years ago from Peter Schutz, the former CEO of Porsche, the German car manufacturer. He told this story to me and a group of CEO’s a number of years ago.

The allies were flying supplies into war torn German airports immediately after the WWII. The weather was abysmal, near zero visibility. The ground crew was able to guide the pilots onto the runway through their crude radar equipment. It required constant communication from the tower to the pilots. Coincidentally they were part of a study and were being monitored for heart rates. As long as the ground crew kept constant and steady contact with the pilots, about the plane’s coordinates, every 10 seconds or so, the pilots remained perfectly calm.

However, if the radio went silent for even the smallest extra delay, the heart rates rose rapidly to extreme levels; a clear indication that when communication stops, or is ineffective and sporadic, trust plummets and stress increases.

How effective are you at communicating the company coordinates to your staff so they can safely land your plane, while remaining calm and under control?

For many CEO’s , the relentless challenge of communicating effectively with employees, business partners, and financial investors is high on their list of stress factors.

How can you improve the communication and trust in your company without spending unproductive time in meetings?

A good place to start is your business plan.

Your narrative business plan is the foundation for effective communication. It provides context and a reference point that allows you to be clear and consistent so others understand your business and how they can contribute to its success.

When your business plan is fully written down and shared, it touches all parts of the organization- marketing, sales, customer service, and finance and helps all employees understand where they fit in and how they can contribute

Revenue without profit is a dangerous thing.

Every business plan has financial targets in the Goals section. How do you feel about sharing financial information? Many business owners are concerned about sharing their financial goals with their employees.  A common refrain we hear – “If my employees know how much money the company makes they will expect more. I’ll have a line up at my door of staff looking for a raise.”

My view is that withholding relevant parts of a business plan from employees blocks the communication, and adds to the mistrust.

Lower trust affects the company culture in a negative way, which can be seen in employee behaviour such as absenteeism, higher turnover, dissatisfaction with compensation, and overall lower performance.

Employees want to work for a profitable company. Companies that consistently make money offer job security. Employees can plan their future, buy a house, a car, save for children’s education.

So employees like to know how the company is doing, and equally importantly, they want to know how they can contribute to that success, and therefore, their own future success.

Sharing financial information with employees brings with it a responsibility to educate employees about business fundamentals. For example, employees may not understand what happens to company profits – the need to pay down debt, for capital investment in growth, dividends for shareholder investors, and increased benefits for them. (If we do really well bonus money for the employees.)

This isn’t difficult to do, and only takes a few minutes at a meeting or even in a memo

Let’s talk a bit more about trust.

Trust in a company can be a very powerful force. When I think of trust, I am reminded of a high school physics lesson. Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. This holds true for trust. In order to get trust we need to give trust, to be trusting.

If you find that sharing financial information with employees is well out of your comfort zone, and preventing you from openly sharing your business plans, you can present your company goals in other terms, such as, increasing our market share from x to y, or expanding our customer base, number of units sold, or any other metric that reflects financial success in your business

The challenge with this approach is that it can be more difficult to connect the relationship between the top line revenue goal and bottom line profit goals. Employees who are striving to reach the revenue goals without the counterbalance of profitability will not have as strong a commitment to cost control

If revenue and profits are clearly connected in their minds,  their contribution to creative, cost effective,  action plans and other day- to-day problem solving goes way up.

I encourage you to see your business plan as your most important and useful communication tool in engaging your employees and your business partners. Update it regularly and share it frequently and openly with anyone who has a stake in your company’s success.

You will sleep better.

Thanks for listening.