In part one of this series, we discussed how to improve your forecasting process by embracing integration and automation. In part two we will discuss how to plan like a champion and avoid a lack of buy-in and input from owners and how to sustain it in your forecasting process.
This past Sunday Tom Brady, who his seventh Super Bowl last year has decided to retire. There is no denying his talent as a player, he is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) but what else goes into making a championship team? How do I become the G.O.A.T. of modern forecasting? How do I avoid the common planning pitfalls?
Regardless of industry, organization types, and project size, success or failure is largely dependent on having the right level of team commitment, stakeholder buy-in, and executive input.
So how did Tom Brady win his seventh Super Bowl, with a new team, in his first year, at the age of 43? The answer is simple, buy-in and input. What do we mean by that? What are the steps he took to achieve team buy-in?
Let’s take a deeper look at how Tom Brady’s devotion to detail and plan for achieving organizational buy-in & input from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the Buc’s to winning Super Bowl LV.
Step 1: Take stock of the current situation
Tom took chose Tampa Bay for their talent, but he took control of the Buccaneers from day one instilling a new culture, one based on winning.
Step 2: Solicit feedback and/or input
He met with the team; players, coaches, and management, presented his idea, and asked for input. What do we need to be successful? Do we have the right people performing the right tasks? What adjustments need to be made?
Step 3: Have your ducks-in-a-row
He reached out to key players in advance to gain their support. He pulled players from rival teams, free agency, and even retirement.
Step 4: Engage emotions
Emotions are part of the game but knowing how to temper your team’s emotions and uncovering what motivates them is key to keeping them focused on the goal at hand – For Tom, this meant a collaboration of people with one goal – Winning it all.
Step 5: Prepare to compromise
Never fall in love with an idea. Plans change you need to be able to pivot, adapt, and overcome to accomplish your desired outcome – Tom and his team did this in each playoff round, changing their game plan to suit each unique opponent.
Step 6: Win the Super Bowl
Buy-in achieved, team motivated, input applied, adjustments made, championship won.
Tom Brady won a championship by following these simple steps, but as a modern planner, how do you achieve buy-in and input whilst avoiding the common planning pitfalls?
Common FP&A, Forecasting, Budgeting, and Planning Pitfalls:
• Lack of integration and automation
• Lack of buy-in and input from budget owners
• Inability to quickly aggregate, report, and dashboard
• Not consistently applying business rules
• Not managing global assumptions and what-ifs
• Lack of accountability in comparing/identifying changes in plans
• Not leveraging plans in decision making
One of the most frustrating and futile exercises in forecasting is attempting to implement a strategic plan without total acceptance and support from management. All of the thought put into strategic initiative planning, risk assessment, and all of the work done through performance management focused on employees cannot replace this essential facet of your organization’s strategy: You need 100% buy-in from those budget owners.
The second two ways to improve your forecasting process:
- Buy-in: A lack of buy-in on a project can have a detrimental impact on a project and can result in severe shortcomings on baseline forecasts and/or budgets. You’ll have a much easier time implementing change if you get complete buy-in from your team members first.
- Input: Once you’ve thought your ideas through and addressed any objections, bring in the budget owners involved and ask for their point-of-view, run it past them. If it survives further scrutiny, it will emerge a better, cohesive, and more effective plan that others can continue to support.
People are crucial to the forecasting process, their buy-in and input are irreplaceable. By successfully having your team buy-in doesn’t just benefit the organization; successful collaboration can also increase job satisfaction and lead to better company outcomes in additional areas. So just like Tom Brady go get that buy-in, input, and plan like a champion.