Preparing for 2015 – get aligned first!
We have less than three months to January 1st, 2015, when most companies in the world start their new fiscal year.
Before even considering 2015, let me ask you two simple questions:
– Will you deliver on or above budget on your most important objectives in 2014?
– Did you grow faster than your market or did you fall behind in 2014?
Most companies are already in 2015 planning mode.
They shouldn’t be!
Planning one year at a time is out of sync with reality and makes your reaction to changes in the environment unnecessarily slow. Just because you have to report to your tax authorities once a year doesn’t mean that you have to run your company that way.
Adding a new quarter to your 12-18 months schedule is a much better approach.
More about that in later posts.
Let’s assume that you haven’t started the planning process yet. What should you do first?
Most CFO’s (they run the budgeting and planning process in most companies) will recommend to do a 2014 Year End forecast first. This way you have three columns in your budget spreadsheet: Budget 2014, FCT 2014, Budget 2015.
You certainly should do so, but that is plain house keeping.
I suggest your first priority should be to perform a quick alignment check in your executive or management team.
I know this will come as a surprise to most, but I can assure you that the value of re-aligning before a major planning and budgeting session makes a lot of sense and will be the best investment you have made in a long time.
I can also foresee that you will think “that’s not needed because we are already well aligned.”
I will do your alignment check free of charge if it turns out that you are Well Aligned or Almost Aligned.
If you are Misaligned or worse you will owe me six bottles of Ripasso Red wine.
The Alignment Test
The alignment test is a very simple activity.
I (or one of my colleagues) will send a questionnaire with 60 questions to each member of your management team. The questionnaire takes less than half an hour to fill in. We generate the alignment report based on the responses.
You can do with the report what you want. You can ignore it or you can take action. The choice is 100% yours. You can view and download a test report here:
We cannot give you the questions as that could potentially distort the results and render the exercise meaningless.
Please get in touch with me if you would like to run the alignment check with your management team.