What is a strategic plan and why is it important for my business?

Beginning with the end in mind, why is strategic planning important? It is important because a plan-ful or purposeful company with deliberate and calculated direction from leadership will bring your organization together through clarity and understanding. The idea is to get your organization all on the same page as it relates to where you are going and what you are trying to accomplish. What’s the plan?!

I suppose there are as many definitions to the question ‘what is a strategic plan?’ as there are companies on the planet. That said, a strategic plan by our definition is a concise, one page, description that includes descriptive context about the company and where it is going; that in the form of a vision, motto and guiding principles & strategies. Also, a strategic plan includes measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Milestones that you can use to determine if you are “on the road or in the ditch”. It is extremely important to the success of the plan that you and your people don’t succumb to the dreaded argument about the “shape of the table”. As stated above, there are as many methods, terms and definitions in strategic planning as there are companies and consulting firms on the planet. So, just pick a term such as ‘KPI’, or ‘goal’, or ‘objective’ and stick with it. The Tracking Action tool allows for the account administrator to be able to adjust your nomenclature based on your company’s preference. Pick a term and stick with it! This concept of standardizing your strategic planning format and terminology across your organization will be crucial!

Finally, you will need to determine the structure of your planning model. You see, with this system you are able to setup a master plan for the entire business, multiple department plans and / or plans specific to individuals. You can setup the structure however you like, but the key is having each plan linked to a person. Note, this doesn’t mean you have to hold that person accountable to the results of the plan, but it does mean that you have someone to hold accountable if the plan is not being tracked. After all, the success of this system will rely solely on your ability to get your people to create a plan, track the plans results, and provide feedback on the progress. Plan, track, feedback!

How many plans do I get?

The short answer is, as many as you want. The long answer, each plan must be linked to a person (email address), and each person can have one plan that is able to be actively tracked and one plan that is in draft stage (Basic Users). Premium Users are able to have two plans actively being tracked. Premium Users are often on the leadership or management team. If you are the business owner you may want to have a master plan for the overall organization as well as an individual plan for your individual performance. A Premium User setup is also often used for managers, directors or vice presidents of departments so as to be able to plan and track a department’s progress as well as the individual’s progress towards individual efforts. Again the key is to have a plan linked to a person so they are held accountable to actually creating the plan and tracking the results ongoing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is solely held accountable to the performance of the department or division; although you can. You will pay for each Premium and each Basic User on a monthly basis, but in your company’s first 30 days of service you are able to add as many users in each category (Premium & Basic) as you like at no cost. This will give you a little time to setup the internal structure for your planning. Feel free to contact us for help in setting up your organization.

What is the difference between a premium user and a basic user?

A Basic User has access to one plan that can be actively tracked as well as one additional plan that has no tracking functionality. A Premium User has access to two plans that can be actively tracked and two additional plans that can be created bt not actively tracked. The additional plans can be used to draft and communicate plans for the next year, for a new endeavor, or for a project in development. The additional active plan on a Premium Users account typically is used by leadership to represent either the overall organization or department while still being able to actively track personal performance on an individual plan for the User.

In addition, Premium Users are able to be labeled as “Appriasers” on other Users plans. Only Users listed as Appraisers on other Users plans are able to go in to the “Appraisees” plan and create an Appraisal. Try to say that ten times fast. In other words, Premium Users can provide systematic feedback on plan progress directly linked to plan results. Premium Users are able to create and archive annual, quarterly or monthly appraisals. The Tracking Action tool has been built to provide you with a very customizable solution to your planning, tracking and performance management needs. A process that will work for you and a system will stick!

How does the 30 day free trial work?

In your first 30 days of service you are able to invite as many Users (both Basic & Premium) from your company to create plans and begin tracking. Prior to the 30 day trial expiration you will be asked to submit your credit card information (or negotiate payment terms separately with Tracking Action, LLC). You will then be billed on Day 31 (i.e. March 10th) for the total of all Premium and Basic Users setup on your account. This payment will give you access to Tracking Action for the next month, or the new Service period; which in this example would be March 10th through the renewal period – April 10th through the next month, and so on for future monthly renewal periods.

What are the costs for Tracking Action?

The first 30 days of use is at no cost to you with no credit card information required. You are able to invite as many Users (both Basic & Premium) and they are able to begin planning and tracking immediately, at no cost for the first 30 days. Prior to your initial trial period’s expiration you will be asked for your payment information for the upcoming billing or Service period. This period begins the day after your trial period expires. For example if you created your account on the 7th of February, your billing or Service period would begin on the 10th of March (after the 30 day trial period); at which time your credit card will be billed or an invoice will be submitted for payment; this payment amount will be for the total number of Premium and Basic Users on the account at the beginning of the period. The same will apply for subsequent renewal periods. At the beginning of each subsequent renewal period your credit card will be automatically charged or an invoice will be submitted depending on the number of existing Premium and Basic Users on the account at the beginning of the period. For users added during a billing period, the credit card on file will be charged pro-rata at the time of addition for the remaining time in the billing period.

The Company Administrator is able to manage Users on the account; add or delete Users as needed.

How often and how am I billed?

You can be billed “offline” or “online”. Those who pay online are able to enter credit card information through the website and pay for Tracking Action once per month. You are also able to bill and pay offline, via invoice, at the sole discretion of Tracking Action, LLC. Clients paying for the Service offline are able to pay monthly, quarterly or annually depending on their preference.

What if I need to remove or add a user?

You are able to set a company administrator (or multiple company administrators) who are able to add and remove users and set “Appraiser” status to each User. See ‘What is the difference between a premium user and a basic user?’ for more information on the topic. Note, Company Administrators must be Premium Users; you will likely only have a few to at most a handful of Company Administrators.

How secure is my information on Tracking Action?

Tracking Action takes the security and the safety of your data very seriously. We use the best tools and engineering practices available to build and maintain the website, and we annual review our practices to continually make sure your data remains secure. Your information is stored securely on a dedicated server system and backed-up regularly. Other Tracking Action Customers have no access or ability to view your data. Your account login is protected by many layers of security including password and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

Tracking Action employees are prohibited from viewing the content of account, unless accessing your account the information in an effort to help troubleshoot a technical support issue or to provide you with a customer service need.