Planning; the ‘Marmite’ of Business Systems

In dealing with clients over the years I’ve found that pIanning is a bit like marmite. You either love it and see the benefit of it, or you hate it, and think it’s a complete waste of time. Certainly, not everyone is a fan. 

“It takes way too long to pull a plan together, and then we never refer to the damn thing again! What’s the point?” And of course, “We invested all that time and then everything changed…” has never been more relevant than it is here in 2020.

I appreciate there will be businesses out there whose plans are changing on almost a daily basis, but even for those business owners, there is still benefit to be found in planning and goal setting.

I talk to business owners a lot about the importance of having a regular planning cycle. It’s something I learned during my years with McDonald’s and it’s key to their consistent and continuing growth and success. More relevantly right now, it’s also key to their ability to bounce back from a crisis – and believe me, they’ve been through one or two!

On the day of lockdown in March this year, McDonald’s share price dropped $100 – plummeted might be a more apt word – yet here we are barely 6 months later, and that share price has not only recovered, but surpassed where it was before the crisis hit.

You could put that down to a number of factors, but I know that McDonald’s will have gone into that crisis, having seen it coming, and having planned in advance what they would put in place not only to recover from it, but to take advantage of the changes, short and long term that they saw coming.

McDonald’s planning system is as disciplined as it is effective – a clear long-term vision – goals that will lead them towards that vision, developed for the next three years – 12 month goals to support that 3 year plan, delivered rhythmically and systematically through 90 day goals.

Every single, 90 days, they get their teams together to review what’s been achieved in the quarter, and plan for the next – to look at the opportunities that are headed their way, and also the challenges, whether that’s a pandemic or a change in the advertising laws. Their planning system keeps them moving forward, keeps them ahead of their competitors, keeps them growing.

So you can see why I’m a big fan of planning, and particularly of the 90 day planning cycle!

It’s a wonderfully rhythmic activity; consistent, regular as clockwork, reliable; keeping everyone in the business focused on the vision and on track to play their part in its delivery.

Three year planning may be a step too far for you right now, but the 90 day planning cycle is essential for every business owner looking to scale their business.

Do one thing: If you haven’t already, involve your team in developing a plan of attack for the next 90 days.

ps Planning s a key element of your Rhythm Building System, which is Step 5 of a 9 step roadmap that we lead our clients along, to build the business-critical systems that will make your business scale-ready, and free you from the day to day of your operation. 

To learn more about the 9 steps that will move you from slave to your business to scale-ready, visit:


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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