A good corporate plan should set out where an organisation aims to be in say five years time and, broadly, how it is to meet those goals
It should define the organisation’s business model by explaining its choices of products, services and markets, and how it will make money, grow the business and meet demand
Glen Moreno, Chairman of Pearson and a director of Man Group and Fidelity, says a corporate plan is “the reallocation of scarce capital resources towards the best opportunities for growth in earnings and returns”
The author, Stephen Covey, said “plans are the knowledge about what to do and why – others then have to provide the how to do and the employee motivation for want to do”
According to Peter Drucker, the corporate plan should provide answers to:
If we were not in this product/ service/ market/ business, would we be going into it now?
What goes on outside the business, especially with non-customers, given the first sign of the need for fundamental change rarely appears within?
Dr Edwards Deming said managers that face the following questions will soon see the need for an overall integrated plan:
Where do you hope to be five years from now?
How may you reach this goal – and by what method?
Jack Welch, when CEO of GE, said an organisation’s strategy should define the ultimate aim of “how it intends to win in business”:
It’s actually very straightforward
It’s an approximate course of action that you frequently revisit and redefine according to shifting market conditions
It’s about funding the big ‘aha’, setting a broad direction, putting the right people behind it and then executing with an unyielding emphasis on continual improvement
It’s resource allocation, given you cannot be everything to everybody, whatever your size
Good plans are thus not long-winded, verbose glossies but short, punchy statements of broad aims and how they are to be achieved – they’re not prescriptive in every detail but deliberately leave tactics to be employed down to others
They’re the equivalent of the short, inspirational briefings that General George Patton or Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson gave to their commanders before battle – their commanders didn’t need, or want, any more