Thursday, July 09, 2009

10 New Resolutions for the 2010 Planning Process

As we approach the 2010 planning season, I always like to take a few moments and reflect on the horrors of last year's planning cycle, making some commitments on how I can do it better this year:

1. I will lead this process and not get dragged behind it.

2. I recognize that many of our business fundamentals may have recently changed, so I commit to anticipating the key questions likely to define our strategy and, using research, analytics, and experiments, gather as much insight into them as I can in advance of making recommendations.

3. I will approach my budget proposal from the ground up, with every element having a business case that estimates the payback and makes my assumptions clear for all to see.

4. I will not be goaded into squabbling over petty issues by pin-headed, myopic, fraidy-pants types in other departments, regardless of how ignorant or personally offensive I find them to be.

5. The person who wrote number 4 above has just been sacked.

6. I will proactively seek input from others in finance, sales, and business units as I assemble my plan, to ensure I understand their questions and concerns and incorporate the appropriate adjustments.

7. I will clearly and specifically define what "success" looks like before I propose spending money, and plan to implement the necessary measurement process with all attendant pre/post, test/control, and with/without analytics required to isolate (within reason) the expected relative contribution of each element of my plan.

8. I will analyze the alternatives to my recommendations, so I am prepared to answer the inevitable CEO question: "Compared to what?"

9. I will be more conscious of my inherent biases relative to the power of marketing, and try not to let my passion get in the way of my judgment when constructing my plan.

10. If all else above fails, I promise to be at least 10% more foresighted and open-minded than I was last year, as measured by my boss, my peers in finance, and my administrative assistant. My spouse, however, will not be asked for an opinion.

How are you preparing for planning season? I'd like to hear what your resolutions are.

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