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 The key to your 2014 business plan? Make it a living document for the whole year.

Assuming you have thoroughly developed your Business Strategic Plan, including your budget for the year, it is imperative to use them as living documents, not as an exercise that produces a binder that sits on the shelf and gathers dust all year.

In the uncertainty of today’s economic environment, the old saying, “Plan your work and work your plan,” is not only as good of advice as ever, it becomes absolutely necessary to achieve high performance.

In this volatile economy, we know any number of economic variables could change from the predictions we made during the planning process, that’s why making constant reviews are so important, far gone are the days of automatic success in our industry. Your plan should have been written with as much knowledge about your property’s operations, market, accounts, guests’ expectations and brand-driven costs as possible.

It should have specific measurable goals and be reviewed on a regular basis. If you do not have a plan in place, you need to get one in place quickly before getting immersed in a more complex and compromised situation.

Working, or reviewing your plan, requires you to measure financial and operating performance against your plan. Here below a series of questions you may want to ask yourself

Has the management team reviewed what worked and what did not work in 2013?
Have you developed a section with market assumptions and opportunities for the upcoming year?
Have you clarified and communicate your overall business strategy to key members?
Have been financial and non financial KPI cascaded down to the rest of the team?
Is everything on track by department, by accounts and by guest satisfaction scores?
Do you have the right team in place with a yearly training calendar program?

If the answer is no or partially no to any of these questions, you might want to review your existing Business Strategic Plan. Every review of your plan should include revisions that adjust strategies and tactics to better meet goals based on the current situation, it is going to be another challenging year, only those companies who best prepare will succeed.

Ask your key players HODs what they can do better, and hold them Accountable for achieving desired results. Each and every action in your plan should have a specific person responsible and accountable for its achievement along with a date for completion.

Strategies for Getting Ahead

Based on our work experience and more than 20 years in the industry, Hoteliers Inspiration, recommends the following strategies that deliver superior results in adverse economic conditions:

1. Establish clarity of goals and rapidly align your workforce to execute the new strategy
Forced upon your business by your people’s contribution or external environment, you cannot afford to lose focus or drift away from the expectations set at the beginning of the year.

The year just started, this is your opportunity to reinforce and checks progress against Key Performance Objectives, Key Job Responsibilities and Leadership Competencies set at the beginning of the year.

2. Set a Performance calendar in place for assessment on your people’s Key Job Responsibilities, determine performance factors and assess your people against them, provide real time feedback and reduce any existing gaps between what your team is giving and what the company is expecting.

Optimize your workforce!!!

3. Focus on your Brand Leadership Competencies —keep them alive, they are the essence of your core purpose. How people deliver results are directly linked to behaviors expected by the organization.

4. Communicate performance and Help – Develop your workforce throughout Personal Development Plans designed to mitigate weaknesses and areas of development. The company’s strong commitment to leverage performers is essential for the future, be transparent driving trust and employee engagement. Companies with high trust financially outperform those with low trust.

Companies must be fair and consistent in how they measure performance and behaviors that employees demonstrate during their employment.

Leadership Competencies, which are the qualitative measures of effective job performance or the ‘how’ your people delivers, help organizations do this.

The Leadership Competencies are made up of observable behaviors that are aligned with the business strategies and to expectations of acceptable and effective performance.

Key Questions for organizations:
Are we optimizing the talent that we have? Are we developing the individuals? Are we clear on expectations and goals? Are we clear on where their performance levels should be? Are we providing the necessary feedback we need to? Are we helping our workforce throughout Personal Development Plans and Succession planning?

Conclusion

In times of economic uncertainty, planning, organizational skills with a high grade of business innovation across the organization can make the whole difference to tackle forces of the new economy, develop these skills, finding the time and money for the implementation of those systems are critical for the future of the organization.

Companies are undermining the importance of introducing New Ways of Working as part of the innovation process, Insanity is defined as keep doing same things over and over expecting different results,.

By the timely implementation of new ways of working are finished and the system is in place, the company is setting a clear path for its growth, the force behind these new initiatives will start producing a R.O.I much earlier than expected.

There are piles of evidence suggesting that there is time to start thinking comnpletly out of the box, process bring about better financial results including faster top line profitability growth. Not many companies realize this, they are focused so much on the bottom line reducing costs and cutting everywhere.

Sergio Foti, Msc
Director