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3-12-6 Planning Framework

The 3-12-6 planning framework

The importance of effective planning and the steps involved, including defining SMART objectives, analysing the internal and external environment, developing strategies and action plans, and monitoring progress. Provides examples of corporate objectives using the 3-12-6 planning framework and highlights the importance of following a logical sequence when setting goals.

In a lot of the company workshops and training I run I ask the delegates to create a plan. 

I’m a big believer that executive education without action is incomplete. I can provide the knowledge, skills, and new concepts, but it is action that transforms that knowledge into practical outcomes. Lots of the things I teach are the practical elements of management. Without taking action to apply those principles in a workplace, the knowledge gained may not lead to any meaningful change.

Action is what transforms education from an abstract concept to practical outcomes that create value for you and your company. By taking action based on what you have learned, individuals can apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems, create new ideas, and bring about positive change in their lives and in their companies.

The importance of planning 

Planning is the process of setting goals, defining strategies, and creating a roadmap to achieve your goals. It’s an important part of running a company and leading a team as it helps achieve objectives and maximise your chances of success.

A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.

General George Patton

Effective planning includes the following steps:

Defining objectives: The first step in the planning process is to define the objectives of the organisation. Objectives should be SMART, that is; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These are important, especially in a workplace, as they provide clear and measurable goals that are achievable, relevant to the organisation’s overall goals, and time-bound. They help individuals and teams to focus their efforts, track their progress, and achieve their outcomes. 

Analysing the environment: After defining objectives, the next step is to analyse the internal and external environment in which your organisation operates. There are several frameworks that I teach companies to analyse the internal and external environment. Three commonly used frameworks are SWOT, PESTLE, and Five Porters. 

Developing strategies and action plans: Based on the framework analysis, you can develop strategies to achieve your objectives. Strategies should always be aligned with the vision, mission, and values of your company. Think of it all connecting together via a golden thread which runs through everything you do.

Monitor progress: What gets measured gets done. Make sure you regularly monitor progress to ensure that the objectives are being achieved. This includes tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and making adjustments as needed as early as possible.

Effective planning is a critical function of management that helps organisations to achieve their objectives and maximise their chances of success. By defining SMART objectives, analysing the internal and external environment, developing strategies and action plans, and regularly monitoring progress, companies can ensure that they are making progress towards their goals and adjusting their plans as needed to stay on track. Remember, a good plan that is executed with determination is always better than a perfect plan that never gets implemented. 

Strategic planning is a critical function of management that helps organisations to achieve their long-term objectives. One popular planning framework is the 3-12-6 planning model, which provides a roadmap for setting specific, measurable goals over three distinct timeframes. This framework is designed to ensure that short-term goals are aligned with the company’s overall vision and mission, while also providing a clear direction for achieving longer-term objectives. 

The 3-12-6 planning framework

In the 3-12-6 planning framework, the three milestones (six weeks, twelve months, and three years) are designed to build on each other and provide a roadmap for achieving the company’s long-term objectives. The order in which these goals are set is important and should follow a logical sequence.

Three-year goals: The first step in the planning process is to set the company’s long-term objectives for the next three years. This will provide the overall direction for the company and help to ensure that shorter-term goals are aligned with the company’s vision and mission. The three-year goal should be concise and sum up where you’d like to take the company.  An example might be: Increase revenue by 100% by expanding our service line and entering new markets. 

Twelve-month goals: Once the three-year goal(s) have been established, the company can set its medium-term objectives for the next 12 months. These should be focused on initiatives and milestones that need to be achieved within the next year to keep the company on track towards its longer-term objectives. Following on from the example above, something suitable would be: Launch three new service lines in the next 12 months and achieve $1 million in sales.

Six-week goals: With the two above timeframes established it’s now time to set the short-term goals for the next six weeks. These goals should be focused on specific activities that can be accomplished quickly and efficiently to help move the company towards its longer-term objectives. Having short-term goals and quick wins is a great way to keep your team motivated. Following on from the example a six week goal for this project might be: Launch a social media marketing campaign to increase brand awareness and generate new leads.

By following this order, the company will ensure that its short-term goals are aligned with its long-term objectives and that it is making progress towards achieving those objectives over time.

Richard Brooks

Richard Brooks is an experienced executive coach and conference speaker, with a strong background in international business. With over 20 years of experience in designing and delivering educational programs, he is known for his confident and engaging speaking style, and his ability to make complex management theories accessible to audiences. Richard has a proven track record of growing businesses and executing complex B2B deals globally. He has held senior executive positions in the UK, Europe, and the USA, and is a graduate of Cranfield School of Management. As a highly effective board advisor and business coach, he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs develop winning strategies and unlock sustainable value within their organisations.

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