Business Builders Podcast

Putting strategy into action with special guest Peter Nolan

May 14, 2022 Brenton Gowland & Ron Tomlian Season 2 Episode 20
Business Builders Podcast
Putting strategy into action with special guest Peter Nolan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today's episode, our hosts  Brenton Gowland and Ron Tomlian talk with guest Peter Nolan about his real-world advice on transforming organisations through the strategic planning process. This episode shows how to put the concepts from our Demystifying Strategic Planning Series (Episodes 13 - 19) into practice.

The topics covered are: 

  • An overview of strategic planning
  • Who should be involved in the strategic planning process
  • How to communicate your strategy with your staff
  • How long does strategic planning take
  • How to put your strategic plan into action
  • The importance of the CEO leading and communicating the plan effectively
  • Communicating the strategic plan with your board
  • Advice about the value of a strategic plan
  • Peter's advice for people who don't have a plan
Helping businesses find their new shape.

SA Business Builders
Business leaders social group based in South Australia

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Brenton Gowland  0:01  
Today on The Business Builders podcast, we're talking with special guest, Peter Nolan, a business transformation specialist. Peter has led several businesses with little or no strategic direction to become thriving, strategy driven organisations. So stay tuned for real world advice to help you get cracking with your strategic plan. Well, welcome to the Business Builders podcast. We are your hosts, I am Brenton Gowland.

Ron Tomlian  0:27  
And I'm Ron Tomlian.

Brenton Gowland  0:27  
And Ron, exciting episode today. We are, well, we've just run the demystifying Strategic Planning series, which we finished. And then last week, we did an episode on looking at the pitfalls of strategic planning. And this week, we're going to be talking to a guest who we'll introduce in a moment, who's actually been a real change agent in a number of organisations through doing and implementing strategic planning.

Ron Tomlian  0:49  
Yes, so that actually, someone who's been there done that.

Brenton Gowland  0:54  
Yeah. And I really like that, because that really brings to life what we've been talking about. And I hope for you, our listener, that we can really bring some action to the words that we've put in place because we always have a pre discussion before we do these things. And part of our pre discussion with our guest was that sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time to learn how to do a thing. And this particular guest has been really involved with strategy over the years and has seen the benefit of it. And it's intrinsically become part of who they are. And I think sharing some of that experience is really beneficial.

Ron Tomlian  1:26  
Absolutely, because it helps people get the inspiration to go out there and do it themselves.

Brenton Gowland  1:32  
So let's get into this. So but just before we get cracking, let's get our sponsors done. So our sponsors, Ron, are?

Ron Tomlian  1:41  
SA Business Builders.

Brenton Gowland  1:42  
Which is a fantastic group of business professionals, if you're listening internationally, who come together to basically build business friendships, mentor each other and just create a really solid group to be able to help navigate business together.

Ron Tomlian  1:57  
And Adapt_CO.

Brenton Gowland  1:58  
Which is me. I assist businesses build their marketing capability by providing them with in house CMO, marketing and strategy services to increase their effectiveness, help them achieve their business objectives, and enable them to lead their suppliers rather than to be controlled by them. I basically help businesses take control of their marketing Ron. So that's Adapt_CO. And that's our sponsors for this week. So to get cranking with our topic this week, I'd like to start by introducing our guest.

Ron Tomlian  2:27  

Brenton Gowland  2:28  
He is one of the leading experts in vocational training and apprenticeships in Australia. And his name is Peter Nolan. And he's currently the head of the apprentice and training centre for the Australian industry group. Previously, he's been the CEO of HDT. He's also been the CEO of the Civil Contractors Association. And most recently, he's been the CEO of PEER, who are a group training and registered training organisation. Now, while Pete was at PEER, he was able to transform the organisation which is a 30 year old company, and they had not experienced any growth or change for more than 10 years. And Peter was able to transform it to a company that is now an Australian leader in apprentice completion rates. And it's tripled in size. Peter is a self confessed business transformation junkie, who helps and specialises in helping organisations change and grow through strategic planning and implementation. And that's why we're talking with Peter today.

Ron Tomlian  3:30  
He's perfect.

Brenton Gowland  3:31  
He is perfect. 

Ron Tomlian  3:32  
Perfect for our podcast today.

Brenton Gowland  3:33  
 Well no one's perfect. But on that, Peter, how are you?

Peter Nolan  3:36  
I'm great, thanks, Brenton. And thanks, Ron. And thanks very much for having me here today.

Brenton Gowland  3:41  
It's absolutely our pleasure.

Ron Tomlian  3:42  
Yeah, absolutely. So let's get stuck straight into it. Peter, we talked about what you were able to do at PEER and I suspect, other organisations before that, but I've only known you since you've been at PEER. From the perspective of someone who utilises strategic planning to transform organisations, the obvious question is, what's your view on strategy? What is strategic planning from your perspective?

Peter Nolan  4:05  
Ron, look, I've got a fairly simple view on strategic planning, and it's, it's something that's worked well for me. So in a strategic planning process, what I do is I start off by finding out where the organisation is. So that's a review internally of how the organisation is functioning, reviewing its products, but also looking externally as to what's the environment like that the organisation operates in. So where are we now? And then really, the process is to determine where do we want to be. So it's fairly straightforward in theory, but the practical application of finding out where you want to be does take time. And if you follow a good, thorough process, it can add a lot of value to the organisation. And I think that's, that's really what I want to focus on today Ron, is to talk through some of the things that I've done some of the lessons that I've learned along the way, and again, by following a fairly simple process, I think all organisations can benefit from having a strategic plan.

Ron Tomlian  5:06  
Okay, so you talked about and I really liked that, that idea of adding value to the organisation, what value do you see in strategic planning?

Peter Nolan  5:15  
Ron, a lot of organisations that I've come across have been successful and have operated for a long time. A lot of them however, do not have a strategic plan. Now, it may be that the business owner has a plan in their head, or the executive team know what targets they're aiming for. But the strategic plan is something that adds value by getting other people in the organisation understanding where you're going. And if you have more people understanding why you exist, where you're going, what you're trying to achieve, then you've got a much better chance of having staff that come along for the ride. And I think that's one of the key things that's worked really well for me is being able to articulate a strategic plan to employees, that helps them understand what their role is, and how they, they also can add value to the organisation.

Ron Tomlian  6:11  
Okay, so what I'm hearing is one of the real values. And I'd like this like of this concept, one of the real values, the process of strategic planning offers is a mechanism for communicating what the organisation is about, to the entire staff of the organisation, and presumably to customers and everyone else. So the next obvious question for me is who should be involved in the strategic planning process?

Peter Nolan  6:36  
Yeah, that's a good question, Ron. And what I've found has worked well for me is getting everyone involved. And you can get all staff involved by having surveys, forums, discussion groups, asking them questions about why they want to work at the company, or where do they see things going, they may not have the vision or be able to articulate exactly what the strategic plan is going to be. But I think it's really important to give them the opportunity to be part of the discussion. And if you get them involved early, you set a framework around what you're doing, get them involved in the communication have a cascading up to the board to the executive, you can use that information as part of the strategic planning process, when the strategic plan is fully developed, you can then cascade that information back down to all employees. And I think by doing that you get a level of buy in where they've had an input into the strategic plan. And there's a level of ownership then that you're able to create that maybe not doing that you're not able to create that same input and buy in.

Brenton Gowland  7:40  
Yeah, absolutely. And I like the fact that you said that you get employees in early because obviously you've you've just said in some of the comments you made that you work out where you are, and then you work out what you where you want to go, which is great because it aligns with what we've been talking about in the strategic planning process. But it sounds like you engage with them early to really get a baseline for where the company is, and then some insights into what they think which then becomes. Does that become a foundation for how you do your planning? Because obviously, you can't have every employee in the strategy sessions, but you can get their thoughts in there. Yes?

Peter Nolan  8:14  
Absolutely Brenton. And I think the the benefit of that cascading approach is when the strategic plan has been finalised. When the short term goals and actions are determined, business plans, KPIs. When you then sit down with employees in work groups, or one on one, and talk to them about what their KPIs are, they understand their role, they understand better where the organization's going. If you don't, if you don't follow that process to sit down after strategic plans been developed, talk to employees about what their KPIs are, they may not understand clearly why you have those KPIs. So I think that's worked really well for me. It's that, cascading up and down, getting that buy in, getting the understanding of what their role either in the workgroup or as an individual is to help the organisation   those plans.

Brenton Gowland  9:08  
Yep. And I might just ask one further clarifying question, before we get on to the next major question. And when we had our pre discussion, you said that a lot of CEOs might not have a plan in place, but it's in their head, right. And so in light of that, like when you talk about cascading information to your employees, whatnot, and I know that PEER was what, how many employees were at PEER? 

Peter Nolan  9:29  
Approximately 75.

Brenton Gowland  9:30  
75. So that's a reasonable amount of people. So what does that cascading that information look like? Because let's say if we're talking to the owner of a business, an d they go, well, how do I do that? What do I run meetings? How do you do that? Can you just talk to us about how you cascaded that information and brought those 75 people together to share that?

Peter Nolan  9:50  
Look, I think whether it's face to face or via video, it's really just getting people together for discussion. So we had held a lot of lunchtime forums where we will bring people in and talk to them at the start about why they wanted to be at PEER? Why, what they were passionate about. We got them involved in surveys and kept them informed as to what the results of their surveys were, as we rolled out the strategic plan, it was really again, having forums and discussions where we would go through in detail where we were going and what their role was. So it's pretty straightforward. It's just engaging with people. But I think having the confidence in yourself to be able to stand in front of a group, and talk about your vision can sometimes be daunting. But there's a lot of business owners out there that are very successful, and should be confident about understanding their vision and being able to articulate it. And if you're able to do that, the benefit for you as a leader, as a business owner, or as a CEO, is that the people that work for you understand then what's in your mind and where you're going. And it makes your job a lot easier, if they do understand that.

Brenton Gowland  11:04  

Ron Tomlian  11:05  
And what I'm hearing is the plan provides a mechanism for communicating that more effectively. And getting people to understand what part they have to play in achieving the plan.

Peter Nolan  11:16  
Well, if you know why the organisation exists, and what your role is in achieving the goals that have been set for a year or three years, or whatever it might be. When you get up and go to work each morning, I've just found the benefit for the organisation is significant employees are clear about their role, they're clear about why you're asking them to do something, then you've got a much better chance of achieving those outcomes.

Ron Tomlian  11:42  
In fact, we've devoted an entire podcast to discussing the importance of articulating your why for an organisation, yet when I go around, there's a lot of organisations who still don't have that understanding of why they exist. Their underlying theme for the organisation, how important is that? In your opinion?

Peter Nolan  12:03  
Look, I think it's critical if you want employees that are motivated to achieve the outcomes that you want them to achieve, in the absence of any clear vision, or clear why, employees will fill in the gaps themselves. And in the end, you'll have good intentioned, hardworking people doing things that you may not want them to do. So the more that you can provide clarity around the organization's vision, the why, the goals, the actions that you are undertaking, over a period of time, the more aligned the work effort will be, and the greater the chance you will have of achieving those goals and completing those actions.

Ron Tomlian  12:42  
I like to use the analogy of the difference between light, you know, an incandescent light and a laser beam, you know, both provide a certain amount of energy one is scattered, and people are doing things in all sorts of different directions as the analogy and one is coherent and focused, and you get so much more energy directed in one direction. And that's, like I say, that's the analogy for the strategic plan. You can have people doing all sorts of different things, but it doesn't achieve very much.

Brenton Gowland  13:11  
Cool. So I want to just ask you a question, then, from a practical point of view, how long did it take you to put your plan together for PEER? You got 75 people, you've got an organisation that's been around for 30 years, and you haven't seen change in 10 years. So they're not a company that's use to change, right. So how long did the plan take? And then how long did it take for the implementation to start getting traction?

Peter Nolan  13:38  
Brenton the planning process took a few months. I'm not sure exactly how long but we did spend a lot of time engaging with staff. And as part of this transformation, you've got to consider change management and how you engage staff to buy into that change. So we did spend a lot of time talking to staff consulting with them. Because we knew that to improve the organisation to transform it to grow the organisation was going to require a lot of change, and change. Not everyone likes change, particularly if they don't know why it's being done. So I think, again, getting you know, coming back to that, why are we going to be changing the organisation and what the benefits will be for the organisation and for everyone working there. So that was something that we spend a lot of time upfront with staff engaging with them. At the same time, that gave me time then to review the external environment and consider what strategies are we going to use to grow the business? And and that's not always clear, it's not always easy to determine. A lot of owners have something in their mind based on what they've always done. But I think making the effort to reflect on where you're at what has changed, technology wise, market wise, I think it's fair really important to have that reflection. And again, you can generalise the input from staff who are out there selling the product making the product, there's a lot of knowledge in house that can be tapped into as well. Once the plan starts coming together, look, you can make it look nice, and you can dress it all up. But essentially, it's really getting the words clear. So when you say them to people, they understand what they mean. And that's the important thing. You don't need pages and pages. In fact, it's better if you have almost a plan on the page. So a clear vision, a few clear goals, and a few big actions.

Brenton Gowland  15:40  
Yeah, I'm a big advocate for a one page business plan.

Peter Nolan  15:42  
Yes, and it's easy to explain. And it's easy to achieve. If you focus on doing a few big things, rather than dozens or hundreds of little things, you can explain it clearly. And you can get by and a lot better I've found.

Brenton Gowland  15:59  
So it took you a few months to get the plan finalised, let's say three or four months. So that's actually a reasonably short amount of time, to be honest. But it took you that long to get it done. Let's say you got a plan on a page basically to be able to communicate it with your staff. How long did it take you to start getting traction on that plan? Because the implementation part, in some senses, the planning part we've talked about is kind of like fun and exploration. But where the rubber meets the road is when you put it into action, yes?

Peter Nolan  16:25  
Absolutely. And I think the the next part then Brenton is to take that plan and work out, how are you actually going to achieve it? So what are the actions that you're going to be doing? And look, I only ever focus on the next 12 months, there may be some actions that we need to start now for the future. But realistically, if you're setting financial targets, sales, targets, growth targets, a 12 month period has worked really well for me. And I think if you're talking to staff about what you're trying to achieve a 12 month term is probably as long as you want to focus on. So developing those action plans might take another couple of months, well, first time does take a bit longer. But then year on year. Now unless there's a significant change in the business focus, or products, it's really about fine tuning what those actions are to achieve further growth or further diversification or whatever it might be.

Ron Tomlian  17:21  
So if I'm hearing you correctly, and this lines up with what we were talking about in our previous podcast, the strategic plan might be four or five years. So that's the time horizon for that plan. And that informs the annual business plan. That is the 12 month focus that you were talking about where the actions would, as Brendan put it, the rubber hits the road.

Peter Nolan  17:41  
Ron, I think that summarises it very well, you might have a vision to be something significantly more than you are now. And that's not going to happen in 12 months. But then the plans the business plans on an annual basis, chip away at achieving that vision. And what I've found is usually I've underestimated where you can get to in 12 months or even as an executive team, we've we've set targets. But by having that whole strategic process where you get all all of your staff involved, in most cases, the KPIs that we've set are exceeded.

Ron Tomlian  18:20  
Because people are focused,

Peter Nolan  18:21  
People focus they've bought in, and that long term vision can often become a shorter term vision.

Brenton Gowland  18:27  
Yep, you know, what's really interesting about this, we've talked about this before, but strategic planning really almost is a communication piece. Yes, there's a lot of business strategy and whatever. But the key thing is getting it communicated. And that's what I'm hearing.

Ron Tomlian  18:40  
I don't think it's almost, I think it is, no question. It's the best mechanism for helping the leaders of the organisation articulate to the rest of the organisation because of their previous involvement, where we're going and inspire them to action as a result. And that's what I've seen paid to do, too, which is fantastic.

Brenton Gowland  19:01  
Any thoughts on that Pete?

Peter Nolan  19:03  
Look, I think the leadership role is always an important role in strategic planning, and a lot of leaders possibly underestimate that. And just coming back to what I said before about articulating the why, the vision, the role of the leader has to be that staff look to you for that. And I think the role of the leader has to be that the front person and standing up and sign those things. And you may not be confident in doing that, you know, I've spent a lot of time with coaches and mentors, and I've done a lot of public speaking, coaching, for me, to give me the confidence to be able to do that. So it's not something that comes naturally for everyone. But I think, being the leader, it's absolutely critical that you're up there and talking about the vision of the organisation.

Brenton Gowland  19:53  
I think that's really important what you've just said there because I've come across CEOs who, how do I say this? They don't have the confidence to get up in front of people, sometimes they don't even, and I'm just going be very sensitive how I say this, they don't necessarily believe in themselves enough. They push, they have some great people around them. But when you're the CEO, people look to you for leadership. Now, can you just expand on what you've done? Because you tend to be a sometimes a quieter person, and you've had to build confidence. And I think I just heard you say that you've gone to voice coaches, and all sorts of things. Can you talk us, just briefly through your journey of how you've developed the confidence to stand in front of 75, 150, because I've seen you at gala events where you're speaking to, like, 1000 people, right. So can you just talk to us about your experience with building the confidence to do what you need to do as CEO?

Peter Nolan  20:46  
Sure. Look, it's it's something that hasn't come naturally to me, I like to set the direction, go through through the strategic plan, and assume that everyone's following me, that doesn't work very well.

Brenton Gowland  20:58  
So what they said about assume, right? I'm not gonna say it, but if you're listening, you don't assume.

Peter Nolan  21:04  
No. So. And I found out to my detriment, that that doesn't work. So you can go through all the strategic planning, but unless you're leading and communicating effectively, then the strategic plan is not worth the paper it's written on. So I've put a lot of actions in place now that I follow to make sure that I'm leading and communicating. And I stick by that. So regular meetings with the executive, regular meetings with all staff, regular communicators, to all staff. It doesn't have to be me talking all the time. But you need to keep the communication going. You need to make sure that everyone knows where things are at. So regular reports on progress against actions, against KPIs, but not been overly confident to talk in front of people meant that I had to do something about that as well. So I have spent a lot of time practising presentations, getting voice coaching, rehearsing whatever it may be, and I've put myself outside of my comfort zone, where I have been a guest speaker at conferences with hundreds of people. Now, I didn't want to do that. But I knew that the opportunity for me to improve myself would only come if I did try those things. And it still isn't something that I naturally want to do. But I know that if I make the effort, and I prepare what I'm going to say, and I practice what I'm going to say. I'm passionate about what I do, and that passion comes across, and even if I don't get it right, people don't always mind that because I'm standing there talking passionately about what it is we're doing, what we're trying to achieve, and why we're doing it. And that does work.

Ron Tomlian  22:48  
And that gets back to that whole importance of the Why that we've talked about before. If you've got that ingrained in you, as the leader, it comes out, it burbles art and every time you communicate to other people, but you've got to be pretty clear about why that is.

Brenton Gowland  23:03  
And what I'm what I'm hearing is you need to do a lot of work on yourself as well, if you want to implement a plan, it's not just working on the company. It's working on the person who's leading it. Just want to ask another quick question. You talked about information cascading downwards and cascading upwards. Now, a lot of people that we'll be talking to have boards. So in a strategic planning process, can you just talk to us about how you kept the board on board, and how you were able to ratify with the board the strategic plan that you've got over the line.

Peter Nolan  23:34  
I've really enjoyed working with boards that have given their time to the organisations that I've worked for. And most of them have been volunteer boards. And I think the what's worked well, for me has been preparing information in advance and providing the information to the board. They're there to add value to the strategy and governance of the organisation. They're not there to do the research on what's happening inside the business or in the environment, they might have knowledge and expertise in that or another area. So I think it's really important that the information provided to the board is succinct, it's aligned to what's relevant. And it gives them enough content and context to make decisions about the vision of the organisation. I think that's probably the most important thing for the board to be able to articulate what it is that they are going to support the CEO and the executive in achieving. And when you've got that aligned, that's when you can really then go on to develop the strategic plan, the business plan, and by getting the support of the board, by having that clarity, that's when each board meeting can really focus on getting that value add by the board's expertise, if it's not clear, if if you're on different planes, then you won't get that synergy. 

Brenton Gowland  24:58  
So the the strategic plan In itself helps the CEO or the managing director bring alignment with the board and have a clear direction that you approach and attack together. Yeah.

Peter Nolan  25:09  
And I think, you know, a CEO might join an organisation with an idea as to where they want to go. If it's not aligned to what the board wants, then that's not going to work well, and sometimes doesn't end well. So I think having that clarity that alignment is absolutely critical for the CEO for the executive and the board. And I would expect that a lot of challenges between boards and executives have been because there isn't that clarity and alignment.

Yep. And you, you seem to have a knack for getting into companies that don't have a strategic plan in place. So I think we should listen to Peter. Yes?

Ron Tomlian  25:48  
Absolutely. And it's interesting, it seems like such an obvious thing to do. And yet, in my experience, there are a lot of organisations out there, mainly, through ignorance, mainly through all this is all too hard, and not making...

Brenton Gowland  26:03  
Being successful despite themselves.

Ron Tomlian  26:05  
Yes, which which you can get by in very steady state times. But as soon as the environment becomes turbulent, as soon as significant changes start happening around you a strategic plan or operating without a strategic plan almost becomes impossible. And as you said before, standing still doesn't become an option anymore, because everyone's going by you.

Brenton Gowland  26:28  
So look on the business builders podcast, we're all about practically helping our listeners and our listeners as smart people. And we've got a few different groups out there. We've got people who own businesses, we've got managing directors, and we've got up and coming business professionals. Peter, what is your advice to our audience in terms of if you haven't got a strategic plan in place, how do you get started? And from everything from do you get outside help? Because I know you talked about you've got mentors and so forth, to what do you do yourself? How can you get to a place where you go from no strategic plan in a business, but doing okay, to a place where you have a strategic plan?

Peter Nolan  27:03  
Brenton I think the first thing I'll say is that if you're running a successful business, and you don't have a strategic plan, firstly, well done. But imagine how successful or more successful your business can be with a strategic plan and I know they do work. And even if it was only 2%, or 5% improvement, and that goes on to your bottom line, then that can make a significant difference. So I think it'd be worthwhile, firstly, just thinking about, Do I take the next step and develop a strategic plan? So that's the first thing. The second thing is, yes, who do I go to? I haven't done it before. And I generally would use an external person to come in and help with the process. And I find that everyone's busy, everyone's focused on operations and the business and a whole range of other things. And to have someone that comes in with their expertise and guides and supports you along the way, has worked well for me. Now, not everyone that I've engaged has been as successful as I would have liked. And that's, that's just the way things are with consultants. So I wouldn't be asking around other organisations, your networks, your industry association, however it might be that you connect with others, to find out who people have used in developing their strategic plan, and meeting them and making a decision based on whether or not firstly, you feel comfortable with that person, because they are going to be providing a level of support that, and the detail that they will possibly be exposed to is quite considerable. So you need to be comfortable with that person in the first instance. And secondly, understanding what their process will be. And it shouldn't be complicated, it should be pretty straightforward. There'll be doing a lot of work for you. But the process shouldn't be complicated. And that in the end, on the asking for examples of strategic plans that they've developed in the past, if you'd like to look at them, if they make sense. And if they're easy enough for you to read, and you think you'd be able to confidently explain it to your staff, than they might be the right person to help you and your strategic planning.

Brenton Gowland  29:16  
Yep. So you're saying if you're going from no plan to a plan, in the first instance, at very least, get someone to help you.

Peter Nolan  29:23  
Absolutely, yep.

Brenton Gowland  29:24  
Cool. And it takes a while to understand how strategy in the discussions we've had can really start to effect an organisation. It's not till to you do a thing that you start to understand the thing. Would you say that's fair?

Peter Nolan  29:37  
Look, I think so. And like I said before, I think most business leaders and CEOs have a strategic plan in their mind. And they may even write parts of it down. They might have key things that they write down for staff and they might be communicating with staff key things. And it's really collecting a lot of those thoughts, putting it together on a page, identifying, like I said, Where are you now and where do you want to be? It is pretty straightforward, but it is powerful. If it's done, well.

Brenton Gowland  30:06  
Yeah, great. And then the job of the facilitator is basically to get out of what's in your head on the table. And if we go back to what you were saying earlier, the job is to actually get out of every single person in the business, what's in their head, and then they start to assemble the jigsaw pieces. Yeah,

Peter Nolan  30:19  
Look, there, there can be absolute little gold nuggets along the way from employees that have great ideas. And there might be a lot of them that there may not be a lot of them. But that process of getting everyone involved does work. It does get the buy in. And that does make a significant difference in being able to achieve and deliver better outcomes.

Brenton Gowland  30:43  
And if you don't ask, you'll never know.

Ron Tomlian  30:44  
And I've seen unfortunately, the opposite were a couple of people have gone away and developed this absolutely beautiful plan. And they wonder why people don't understand it, why people aren't engaged by it, why people reject it in some cases, and it's because they haven't been on any part of the journey. I mean, a lot of this planning is a process a journey of discovery, where are we going to go? If people haven't had any part to play in helping determine that, and you just presented as a fait accompli, it's it falls kind of flat. So going down the path of the process that you talked about, is critical to getting people engaged and involved in the direction that you want to set for the organisation.

Brenton Gowland  31:28  
Yeah fantastic. And Peter, just as we start to think about wrapping up, is there anything else you'd like to say to the people listening? So you've got up and coming business professionals, you've got managing directors, CEOs, board members, what would you like to say to the people who are listening in terms of strategic planning?

Peter Nolan  31:43  
Look, I know everyone's busy and working long hours. And if you haven't done something before, like anything, if you're not sure what to do, sometimes you just put it off. Like I said, it is fairly easy to do. And I think if you get the right person in to help you, it's not that expensive. There's some really good people in Adelaide, and across the world that can help you. So I'd say make a start. If you don't make a start, then you're never going to get going to get that plan developed.

Brenton Gowland  32:13  
Yeah I know, what I'm hearing is strategic planning is easy, and I like that. But it's like anything unless you've done it once. And unless you've got it in play, then you don't understand just how easy it can be right?

Peter Nolan  32:25  
Look, I think that sums it up nicely. Brenton. It is an easy process. It does add value.

Brenton Gowland  32:31  
But you're a veteran Peter, you've done it for ages, you're in the right place at the right time when you were younger and got involved with it. So it's easy for you now. So it's these people taking the first step. You've gone through the business coaches in the voice coaches and so forth.

Peter Nolan  32:44  
The people we're talking about Brenton are business owners and CEOs that actually running successful businesses, compared to that developing a strategic plan is quite simple.

Brenton Gowland  32:55  

Peter Nolan  32:56  
But it does add a lot of value. And I definitely would recommend that you give it a go.

Brenton Gowland  33:01  

Ron Tomlian  33:02  
Thank you, Peter. I think it's one thing for Brenton and I to talk about this stuff, and demystify it. But to have someone like yourself who's not only been there and done it, but used it as a mechanism for making significant change, and transforming organisations, just cements all the, if you like the theory, or the concepts that we've been articulating for the last couple of podcasts.

Brenton Gowland  33:26  
Yeah, I 100% Agree, Ron, I really think that's a good combination of what we've been talking about. So Peter, thank you so much for coming along. Now, where can people contact you if they want to reach out and say, Hey, Pete, I just like to ask you a question, or should we be making people avoid you?

Peter Nolan  33:42  
Look, I'm happy to be contacted Brenton.

Brenton Gowland  33:45  
LinkedIn is the best?

Peter Nolan  33:47  
Yeah, if they, if they look me up on LinkedIn, and drop me a message I'm happy to have a chat to anyone.

Brenton Gowland  33:52  
Great. Okay, so that's Peter Nolan on LinkedIn. And you can see by his list of experience when you get to his LinkedIn page that he is the man you're looking for. And we'll put a link in the podcast preamble text so that you can find him pretty easily. So thank you so much, Peter, for coming and sharing your experience with us. That's been great.

Ron Tomlian  34:08  
Fantastic. And yes, I still got goosebumps.

Brenton Gowland  34:11  
Yeah, that's great. And so to you out there who are listening in every country that you're listening to from Australia, to the US to Europe to wherever you are, just get started with your strategic plan. Just do it.

Ron Tomlian  34:26  
I just refer to that as the Nike, just do it.

Brenton Gowland  34:30  
Anyway, thanks for listening. It is goodbye from me.

Ron Tomlian  34:33  
And goodbye from me.

Brenton Gowland  34:34  
We'll see you next time.

An overview of strategic planning
Who should be involved in the strategic planning process
How to communicate your strategy with your staff
How long does strategic planning take
How to put your strategic plan into action
The importance of the CEO leading and communicating the plan effectively
Communicating the strategic plan with your board
Advice about the value of a strategic plan
Peter's advice for people who don't have a plan