Episode 58: The Single-Biggest Reason Most Strategic Plans Fall Apart Mid-Year w/Mark Johnston Part 3

Uncategorized Jan 05, 2021


Business is very much like a family road trip. If you don’t know your destination it will be incredibly difficult to reach your end goal. Every step along the way is important in how effectively you can achieve your success. In today’s 3rd and final part of this three part series we dive into what winning looks like. Mark is going to help you to better understand what your vision of success looks like in your business and how to effectively accomplish your end goal while harnessing the creative power of strategic planning!

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3 Key Takeaways


  • Study businesses who have gone before who are where you want to be for what success looks like for your business.
  • Create a hyper-specific road map with actionable steps for accomplishing that end goal.
  • Be accountable regularly to access each month how you are or aren’t meeting those goals and adapt as needed.



The Single-Biggest Reason Most Strategic Plans Fall Apart Mid-Year | Strategic Planning w/ Mark Johnston, Part 3


How to creatively define what “winning” looks like for your business.


  • Study businesses who are your “end goal,” and learn to understand their metrics to model for your own. 
  • Based on your research analyze what good profitability, on time delivery, market share, talent retention, and product vitality look like within your industry.
  • Upon determining the stats for successful businesses within your niche be honest with yourselves and grade yourself for each of those same categories to look for areas of improvement.


"If you’re honest with yourself you begin to see what yellow light, red light, green light looks like for profitability." - Mark Johnston


Within those metrics your business will always have its own unique qualities.


  • Don’t only focus on other’s stats and shoot for the exact same numbers but learn to understand what makes you different.
  • Determine what your values are and what sets you apart from your competitors.
  • Analyze how you can better distribute resources to better build on those areas.


"The social impact is important, maybe you want to give back to your local community or toward some worthy cause that’s important in the values of the company." - Mark Johnston


 3 Top mistakes business owners make when planning for the future?


  • Failure to have a detailed understanding of the voice of your customer.
  • Failure to correctly perceive your own business and current placement in the market.
  • Failure to correlate where you aspire to be and the steps needed to achieve those goals.


"Growth for growth’s sake is the motto of cancer." - Seth Buechley


How many metric stats is too many for tracking, and how does a business use this in the real world?


  • The ideal number is 8-10 metrics of what makes winning.
  • For many there will be 3-5 actionable steps categorized into red light, yellow light and green light based on severity of what you are doing well and what you are doing poorly.
  • This involves having both core financial metrics and core values metrics. 
  • When you correctly utilize these both the understanding of where you are at now and then the gap analysis of where you want to be it gives you a clear design on how to take initiative to bring these goals to fruition.



Bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. 


  • Most businesses have up to three red light indicators where they are way off the mark.
  • Identify where your red light indicators are and analyze why you are weak in this area.
  • Take actionable steps on these key areas. Develop new processes, add new talent, invest more money, but take action in these.


"The strategic plan is where you are really going to stretch and really try to change the way you are now." - Mark Johnston


How to make the most of your strategic plan and make it actionable.


  • Focus on the critical problems first and foremost.
  • Rely on the knowledge and experience of team leadership to correctly make the call on tough hiring decisions for solving problem x.
  • Stop speaking in vague terms in what you want to accomplish. Put into writing what exact end goals you are striving to achieve.
  • Ask yourself what specific steps are needed to accomplish your goal.


"Maybe you have things that are cultural and talent orientated which are harder to measure and so you need to put in the time and effort to evaluate if based on what you’re doing now, will you get the check mark at the end of the day." - Mark Johnston


How to ensure the action part of the strategic plan doesn’t fall apart off paper.


  • Be intentional. Strategic planning falls apart typically because it was never taken seriously from the start.
  • Set apart a specific time each month to  analyze whether or not you hit the milestones. 
  • Study why or why not you achieved the goal and what you can do to better reach the goals.
  • Adding monthly incentives for executive compensation for reaching each milestone can be incredibly helpful for achieving set goals.


"Change is coming whether you like it or not and if you really understand where you stand in regards to your customers, competitors and your market, you will be nimble and be able to react and make that change work for you rather than being a victim to it." - Mark Johnston

Resources For You: 

  • If you need help building (or selling) a valuable business, reach out to Cathedral Consulting at [email protected]

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