Testing and challenging business systems: How to change things

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planning meeting
One of our previous annual planning meetings. We gathered in person. Yesterday, we gathered on the phone.

planning meetingWe’re going through some truly significant “change” exercises at our business.  Long-standing polices are getting a work-over — and the shake-up is providing some unexpected results. I don’t want to jinx things by discussing in an open blog work in progress, but am intrigued by the way we discovered and then are implementing the changes.

The business plan — systematic strategic decision-making

We decided on an expansion model at our annual business planning meeting last fall that would require a different strategy to expand the market, especially in the U.S. Then we hit the hard wall of reality — how can we find the right people to execute the plan.

Experimentation, trial and error, searching, learning, trying some more

We tried a variety of implementation ideas. Some worked, sort of. Some seemed to have promise, but didn’t materialize. All required “some” budget — but such a small amount of money that the business would never be in risk if the test idea failed. (I would be really concerned about diving into the deep unknown with a large-budget initiative.)

Feedback loop — Adapting and modifying current systems to the new structures

We needed to adapt some standard processes and systems, but avoided complete tear-downs. This reduces stress and risk.

Are we on track with our original plan/projections? No. Are we making progress in addressing the fundamental questions?  Yes.

The good news, as well, is that we began seeing new questions, ideas, issues, and directions at our mid-year planning review meeting, conducted in a different format but adapting many of the processes from before.

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