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Planning FAQs
Quarterly Updates of the Plan

The single most important thing a company can do to get full value from their investment in planning is monitor progress on a regular basis. Typically these reviews should be conducted quarterly. In a very dynamic environment a monthly review may be justified.

A regular review is a powerful accountability tool. Leaders have an opportunity to go around the table and have each manager describe the progress (or lack of) in their areas of responsibility. The flurry of activity in the weeks prior to the plan review session is an indication of the power they have to motivate. A regular review is one of the best tools for refocusing management resources on what is most important to long-term success.
The Measure of a Leader

A business must do a lot of things well to be successful. In recent years more attention has been given to setting objectives and measuring progress toward those objectives. Operational measures are relatively easy to develop and track but have you ever thought about how to measure leadership?

When measuring anything you have two choices. You can measure effort or you can measure results. When applied to leadership, you can measure what the leader does or measure what impact the leader has on those he or she leads. The latter is more difficult but a much more accurate way to measure a leader. In their book Measure of a Leader Aubrey Daniels and James Daniels identify the four categories of measuring a leader's impact on followers:

  • Momentum - How many followers respond to the leader? How quickly do they respond and how closely do their priorities match the priorities of the leader?

  • Commitment - How well do people know and understand the Vision and Values of the organization? How well do people follow through on their commitments?

  • Initiative - How well do individuals assist their peers? Do workgroups actively assist other workgroups? Do people make suggestions and develop innovative solutions to existing problems?

  • Reciprocity - Do people take responsibility for mistakes? How often is the leader sought out for advice and counsel? How many people grow into the next generation of leaders?

  • Poll Question
    The poll question last quarter asked: What is your outlook for the economy in 2008 compared to 2007? Here is the result:
    0%Much Stronger
    24%Somewhat Stronger
    18%Same
    47%Somewhat Weaker
    12%Much Weaker
    Our poll question this quarter is: What is the likelihood that gasoline will exceed $4.00 a gallon before the end of 2008?

  • Very Likely
  • Somewhat Likely
  • Don't Know
  • Somewhat Unlikely
  • Very Unlikely
  • We will report the results in the next issue. Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like.
    Unlocking Value through Sales Management
    I was recently asked "How can better sales force management improve company profitability"? I am a big believer in the power of strong sales management and have worked with many sales organizations on planning and sales training. Based on that experience, I believe there are five keys to unlocking value through sales management.

  • Select your customers carefully
  • Focus on value not price
  • Don't give away your limited capacity
  • Manage important accounts with a plan
  • Properly train and manage your sales force


  • I have just completed an article on this topic for a trade magazine to be published later this year. If you would like an advanced copy, click here to download a PDF version.
    Future Topics
  • Account Profitability
  • Predicting the Future
  • For more information contact Jim Sisson - jsisson@vantageassociates.com
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