To some degree, all business leaders “plan the work and work the plan”.
(Napoleon Hill first wrote this admonition/motto in “Think and Grow Rich”, 1937)
As another new year begins, many leaders of small businesses are checking the health of their businesses, considering the prospects for the future, setting new goals, and committing to new actions.
I wonder how many of these leaders view IT/tech/Software as critical to their business success.
I wonder how many of these leaders have a written IT/tech/Software plan.
I’ve been surprised to talk with many leaders of businesses with revenue of $10Million, $25Million, and over $50Million who do not have an IT Plan. Many have adequate Privacy policies. Many have partially completed forms of:
- human resources policies,
- business continuity plans,
- cybersecurity policies,
- disaster recovery plans,
- security policies, and
- some level of processes/procedures related to those plans.
Often, business leaders say their colleagues have these governance things under control. However, when probing questions are asked it becomes clear that documentation and training on policies, plans, and procedures are not high priorities for many business leaders.
Why do leaders often fail to set high priority on governance?
The most common answers are “I’m too busy” or “I rely on others to manage that”.
Why are leaders of small businesses “too busy”?
The answer to that question often includes discussions of urgent work that takes priority, creating a hectic workload from the start of each workday to end of each workday.
Do these small business leaders have policies, plans, and procedures – or tools – for:
- setting priorities?
- making decisions?
The short answer is regularly, “No”.
To maximize business value and operating results, small business leaders need to improve at planning the work and working the plan. The improvements do not have to be complicated or fancy. Simple concepts and tools – like the 80/20 Rule – can be put to quick use, brining significant improvements.
The 80/20 Rule [Pareto Principle] can also be helpful when generating initial drafts of policies, plans, and procedures.