• Donald Davis


Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year. The leaves change, and we get ready for Winter in all of the states I have lived in. Each season has an anticipation of what is to come along with things to enjoy in that specific season.

In many of the businesses I have been in, the components of business were also broken down. At GE, you had your budget preparation season, the employee evaluation season. There was an annual meeting season that included a big meeting in Boca Raton, Florida each year for the top executives.

Since April, I have been surveying companies with annual revenues between $10-50 Million, and the results clearly show that 83% of early-stage companies do not take the same amount of time to plan out their budgets. These same companies, 76% of the time, do not have individualized goals. The most challenging part of these numbers for me is that when I ask the people I am interviewing if there should be a focus on budget planning and goal setting within the organization, the leaders do not want to take the time to do it.

Once a company grows to the point where you can no longer feed the company with one pizza, leaders should be implementing the process of having seasons.

My suggestions for seasons would be:

Strategic Planning Season – where is the company going to go this year and at a minimum three years from now? This three-year strategy can then be adjusted over time.

Budgeting Season – Do you have the funds you need? What are you doing daily to get the funds required? As you grow, I would suggest that there be both a bottom-up and top-down budget development. Leaders will learn critical things from their people by presenting what they want to plan for in the coming year financially.

People Planning Season – The first thing that most companies run out of are people who have what they need to support the business. How are you training your people, and do you have the right people for where the organization needs to go.

Evaluation Season – If you spend everyday head down looking at what tactically is getting done, you are not caring for your people. Everyone wants to know how they are doing at their job on an annual basis. It can be a simple process where you write down three things that a person does well and three things they need to improve.

Company and Individual Goal Setting Season – This season is the most critical of all. Suppose you want everyone in your company pointed in the same direction working on the essential things you need to break down where you want to take the company to an individual level.

Big companies can grow and meet challenges because they take time out for each of these five seasons. If more life sciences leaders did the same, we might not see the same level of attrition where 90% of Life Science companies fail. If you need help planning your seasons, send me a message and I can send you some materials that will help get you going.

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