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Planning for 2021? Read this first! | Issue #117

How To Write An Annual Plan For Growth

Let’s see if you recognise this.  It’s time to produce your annual plan.  As CEO, you look back at the previous year’s revenue and costs.  Your Finance Director produces an Excel spreadsheet.  The costs from the previous year are run forwards.  Projected revenue for the annual plan is increased by a few percentage points but the costs are kept the same. So the resulting plan is to grow the business incrementally from the year before for a little less cost.  Sound familiar?

It’s the same in every business I’ve ever worked.  The annual plan’s produced by referring back to the previous year.  Departmental breakdowns follow.  There’s the usual hammering of Marketing as their spend is discretionary and easy to cut.  And the arguing over sales figures.  Death by PowerPoint looms as each of the directors gets up to talk in excruciating detail about why their numbers are as they are.  A bunfight results as revenue and costs are allocated until the spreadsheet is finally balanced.  The annual plan is then shelved and no one looks at it until the following year.

If you’re nodding your head in recognition at this description of annual planning, then I’m here to tell you there’s a better way.  A far, far better way.

The Smarter Way To Job Search with Sam Franklin

If you struggle with recruitment, either as a recruiter or a job hunter, then don’t miss this week’s episode with Sam Franklin. Sam is co-founder and CEO of Otta, the recruitment company helping job seekers find roles at the world’s most innovative companies. 

Formerly a consultant at McKinsey, and then Interim Head of People at, Sam cut his teeth working on the pressing problems of this fast growing startup. At Nested, he formed the Business Operations team and led the Recruitment, HR and People Operations teams. It was in this latter role that he realised how soul-destroying the recruitment process was for many applicants. 

So he set up Otta with two other co-founders with the aim to be the number one platform for job seekers looking for jobs in tech firms in London. 

They went niche because, simply, that is what they’re passionate about. 

This is a fantastic story about how to solve recruitment from the candidates’ perspective and how to potentially drive good behaviour from employers so they get the best people applying for their jobs. Don’t miss this great conversation, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Becoming Whole

Becoming Whole podcast is hosted by Claire Bradshaw, a yoga teacher & wellness life coach, with a passion for finding individual truth, wisdom and wellness, through connection, shared stories, and self-love.

Managing an Underperformer Who Thinks They’re Doing Great

Almost every leader has been in the uncomfortable position of managing someone who thinks their performance is terrific when it’s actually just adequate, or worse. In fact, in my 30 years of consulting, it’s been one of the more frequent — and draining — performance problems I’ve observed.

Feedback At Netflix: 4 Powerful Guidelines

Netflix – one of the pioneers on our Bucket List – is known for doing things differently: not just revolutionizing the entertainment business, but also by experimenting with radical management principles. The most eye-catching are its famous culture deck, the unlimited vacation policy, and the 5-word expense policy “Act in Netflix’s best interest”. Even more powerful than these ‘exotic’ practices is how they give and receive feedback.

Change is inevitable, growth is intentional

The changes to our workplaces brought about by Covid-19 are unprecedented. Many commentators say businesses and employees have, in the space of a few weeks, been catapulted five, ten, even twenty years into the future. With varying degrees of success we have adapted to homeworking, and running our organisations remotely. The daily commute, the lunch hour, the sleepy mid-afternoon team meeting and the trudge homewards all seem relics of a bygone era. Yet less than a year ago this was the norm for millions of us.

The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge

Peter Senge, founder and director of the Society for Organisational Learning and senior lecturer at MIT, has found the means of creating a ‘learning organisation’. In The Fifth Discipline, he draws the blueprints for an organisation where people expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nutured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are contually learning together. The Fifth Discipline fuses these features together into a coherent body of theory and practice, making the whole of an organisation more effective than the sum of its parts.

Making Conversation by Fred Dust

Conversations are one of the most fundamental means of communicating we have as humans. At their best, conversations are unconstrained, authentic and open—two or more people sharing thoughts and ideas in a way that bridges our individual experiences, achieves a common goal. At their worst, they foster misunderstanding, frustration and obscure our real intentions. How often do you walk away from a conversation feeling really heard? That it moved the people in it forward in some important way? You’re not alone. In his practice as a designer, Fred Dust began to approach conversations differently. After years of trying to broker communication between colleagues and clients, he came to believe there had to a way to design the art of conversation itself with intention and purpose, but still artful and playful. Making Conversation codifies what he learned and outlines the four elements essential to successful exchanges: Commitment, Creative Listening, Clarity, and Context. Taken together, these four elements form a set of resources anyone can use to be more deliberate and purposeful in making conversations work.

Meaningful Action for Monday

Do your diaries for 2021

Rhythm is everything when you’re scaling up.  Get your whole team to block out time in their diaries for your meetings next year.  Daily huddles (15 mins), weekly level 10 meetings (90 mins), monthly all-hands (half day), quarterly meeting (one day), annual planning (two days). We’ve just done this here at Foundry Farm, both for us as a team and also for our clients.  If you don’t do it now, it will be impossible to coordinate once 2021 gets going.

Upcoming Events

Prescription For Growth Workshop, Foundry Farm near Salisbury – 27th of January 2021

A special workshop presented by Justin Roff-Marsh (author of The Machine) and hosted by Dominic Monkhouse at Foundry Farm near Salisbury. Join 21 of your peers (owners and senior executives from mid-sized businesses) and design a simple (but detailed) plan to expedite the growth of your organization.

Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop, Foundry Farm near Salisbury – 18th of March 2021

When the going gets tough, attitude trumps everything. Don’t let COVID-19 beat you into the ground and take your business. Treat this pandemic as an accelerator. The “one thing” you’ve been looking for to pivot, re-evaluate or simply get shit done. Join us on our farm in Wiltshire to walk through our Scaling Up growth programme.

Acetech Summit, Whistler – April 2021 (re-scheduled)

An exclusive annual gathering of high-growth tech CEOs. This powerful three-day summit will transform how you define success and deliver growth in 2021 and beyond.

Quote of the week

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power” 

Brian Tracy

Dominic Monkhouse

Dominic offers business coaching and management development, strategy planning and organisational change, using tried and tested methods to launch your organisation onto an unparalleled growth trajectory. His programme is a function of his broad experience, his deep expertise and a proven process used by over 2,700 firms worldwide.

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Sign up today and get your copy of F**K PLAN B: How to scale your technology business faster and achieve Plan A, the book that will change your business and your life.

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    Sign up today and get your copy of F**K PLAN B: How to scale your technology business faster and achieve Plan A, the book that will change your business and your life.

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