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Hi-Speed Trains, Strategic Planning, and more EBITDA

Hi-Speed Trains, Strategic Planning, and more EBITDA

Companies need a plan (and people itching to execute it), like trains need railroad tracks, or engines need fuel, oxygen, and spark plugs. A concise, short business plan can move your company into a better future, as the railroads propelled America 150 years ago: they can (and should) inspire people and keep them on track toward their destination, whether that is the San Francisco Gold Rush or an essential everyday business goal like profitable growth.

I recently came across two great examples of strategic planning that can move organizations (and a country) forward:

Rethinking its goals and objectives, our economic competitor China utilized disciplined strategic planning to metamorphose from an economic basket case just 20 years ago, into the planet’s # 2 economy in 2010. New factories, roads, airports, train stations - an extra $600 billion being spent just on infrastructure right now since China’s stimulus spending bill was enacted last year - and a willingness to rethink and dismantle old ideas and structures (photo on left is but one example of structural renewal now happening in China), will help China become the planet's # 1 economy before long.

Here in the USA, the CEO of a mid-sized company recently asked for help to convert an additional $0.15 of every $1.00 in sales into pre-tax profit through better internal coordination, by developing and executing a simple strategic plan that maximizes a key strength and reverses one key weakness – we drafted the beginnings of a strategic plan that can add $3 million in profit for a $20 million company (by reducing excessive freight and cancellation costs, wasted overhead, and increasing sales at higher margins)! By investing in a bit of outside help from (re)ALIGN, this American CEO can improve strategic planning, build a stronger infrastructure, and secure profitable growth and shareholder value.

If one desired outcome of strategic planning is to shorten the distance between your team and your customer, consider this:  one evening last week, I traveled through the mountains south of Shanghai, China, at 155 mph on the world’s fastest railroad track, capable of 260 mph in less hilly regions. A trip that used to take a day is now accomplished after meetings and before dinner. China's strategic planning allowed me to see more vendors and buy more products during a shorter stay there.

Both – the American CEO and China – are on their way to stay or become #1. Which one gets there first or stays there longest is largely a function of their ability to develop and execute a strategic plan that shortens the distance: between China and its global customers, it is effective factories and roads connected to airports and seaports. Between you and your customer, it is a strategic plan that connects your customer to your team more effectively and gets your team itching to execute.

Is your plan ready for prime time? Is your plan embraced by your team, is it short, concise, and most importantly will it help you execute profitable growth? Let's talk and explore. What are you waiting for?

(re)ALIGN sharpens your perspective to compete more effectively.

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