Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth!

Plan Punched That phrase about planning comes from the infamous Mike Tyson decades ago, and it came immediately to mind over the last two weeks as I listened to the unfolding 5G fiasco after ten years of planning for a much-anticipated rollout. 

Tyson's plan was always to be to be the brawler, the bruiser, the biggest and ultimately the baddest guy in the ring which he demonstrated to the extreme by biting off the ear of Evander Holyfield in a title fight.  Not much of a plan, but maybe it was.

More importantly to the fiasco of the 5G plan...

  • The FAA raised these questions in their 2015 plan to be told by the telecom companies "not to worry"
  • Total failure at every level between the companies, the feds and the airlines over the rollout 
  • A colossal lack of cooperation by regulators ending in the cancellation of thousands of flights
  • The FAA raised these questions in 2015 to be told by the telecom companies "not to worry"

“I can’t believe that it’s come to this” noted United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, when in fact everyone including Kirby is to blame for this fiasco due to a lack of detailed planning, and more importantly, a consistent review of those plans on a monthly and quarterly basis.   

By now, we've been involved in the creation and the review of thousands of plans-business plans, sales and marketing plans and fundraising plans.  All well-constructed and well thought out by bright and actively involved management.  Most "come close" to achieving their results.  Some exceed their plans.  A few totally fail and need to be rescued.  But by and large, the majority "come close" to the planned results, but rarely with the same clarity and exactness detailed in the original plan.

Our 3 Key Success Factors for '22 Planning

1. Details count more than ever.  Unknown times for the economy, viruses, the Great Resignation, talent in general and more advanced and helpful technologies than ever before.  There's tremendous and very objective data easily available on each of these factors.  Just do the research and ask other leaders what they are doing in their businesses.  In our own business, we've built an inner circle of 30+ business leaders crossing a wide diversity of market to whom we reach out collectively two or three times a year in dinners and virtual wine hours and individually all the time.   The detailed feedback is invaluable!

2.  Consistent Quarterly Business Reviews
In our world of "the science of sales", when we are working directly with sales management and their sales teams, these peer-to-peer QBRs provide extraordinary tactical clarity and "lessons learned" as to what worked, what didn't and most importantly what's ahead for the upcoming quarter

Moving this same thought process to the senior leadership team for the company, the most useful tactic we have found is to hold a day-long review of the plan that had been created for the prior quarter and more critically for the quarter ahead.  This is a review of the entire company's business plan with usually a primary focus to one or two department's depending on results and priorities.    We always do this during the first week of the new quarter and the results are always positive especially in difficult or unknown times and markets.

3. What's the Plan B?

Plan B does not have to be a backup plan when things go wrong, and results are trending down.  Many times, during the last six months of 2021, numbers of our companies stepped on the gas, hired more people, expanded facilities and completed acquisitions faster than planned.  The key here is to anticipate...especially now in times of rapid change and unknowns...to have at least a structure of a Plan B.    

My own Plans A & B are completed for tomorrow's blizzard with dual snowblowers, two generators, and the plow guy are completed...along with my Plan C, which is prepaying the 10-and-13-year-old brothers next door who love to shovel.

Rounding out our 3 "How-To-Write the Winning Plans" Series 

We did manage to finish this week our 2022 edition of "Writing the Winning Marketing Plan", which completes our trilogy of 2022 updates of our basic planning materials. 

This particular Marketing Plan book is separated into two distinct sections.  We encourage everyone to read through the first section, and then for larger companies, the second section focuses on a more detailed process of how to engage all of the individuals required to produce the plan

In any of these books, we always encourage you to connect directly with us for questions and comments.  We have fun writing these and always look forward to taking them to the next level for our updates six months from now.

Have a great day selling today...and be careful in the wicked weatha' tomorrow!

Jack Derby, Professor & Sales Coach AN ANYTIME SOUNDING BOARD IN '22 

If at any time this year, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 business or sales planning process, just connect with me!  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.


Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 







Tags: sales and marketing best practices, how to write a business plan, marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, 2022 business planning, 2022 sales planning