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The Seventh Commandment Of Strategic Planning: Prioritize Your Strategies And Resources

Jacob M. Engel Forbes Councils Member

All organizations are built on the same four foundations. I call them the 4 Ps (pillars), and these strategies and resources are your responsibility. 1. People 2. Processes 3. Products or services 4. (Ph)finances

The difference between successful organizations and those that fail or falter is how strong, thick and deep are the four pillars and how the four pillars are allocated or prioritized so that you don’t have a lopsided building.

If you ask an architect to build you a one-story house, the foundations will be built to accommodate one story. What happens when you build two, three, five, ten, twenty stories on a one-story foundation? It all collapses. The same goes for businesses. You can’t build a five-, ten-, twenty-million dollar business on the same foundation as when you started the business. Most business owners only realize this fact when things start to fall apart, as they are reluctant to “rebuild from scratch.” They would rather keep on pushing harder and harder, but it’s like trying to go at a high speed in first gear. It will only wear out the engine and burn more fuel, but you won’t go any quicker.

Recently I was asked to evaluate a company that over the last few years lost half its sales. I found that at this company, each of the pillars was lopsided at best. No wonder they couldn’t sustain growth. Of course, they had great excuses, but any excuse will bring down a lopsided or weak structure.

Pillar 1: People The reason why people are the most critical to success is because most companies don’t know how to hire. So, either they hire and fire, or worse, they don’t fire and keep the wrong people on board. According to a Gallup study, 82% of hires are