Chair’s Column: Strategic Planning – Don’t Leave This Year Without It

As the leaves start to fall, things appear to be picking up.  As our daily Vermont Business Roundtable ‘news feed’ caught, the recent census update shows Vermont in the lead among the 50 states for median income growth.  Our just completed Roundtable quarterly CEO survey says 90% plus of businesses are increasing or holding even with sales, capital expenditures, and hiring.  I see lots of building and growth in the Upper Valley area, and look at these Northeast Kingdom development announcements in the news!  Our economy is warming, and while the incessant droning noise from trouble spots will likely continue, now is the time to prepare for success in the next 5 years and beyond; personally, for our businesses, and as a state and region.

The 5 year look of traditional strategic planning was de-emphasized at King Arthur Flour early in the Great Recession in favor of scenario planning and other nimble tactics.  While prices of gold, wheat or oil a year from now are still highly uncertain, some good old Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats work is called for we believe.

The work to develop a vibrant strategy for Vermont will begin at the VBR Board retreat next month.  We look for Roundtable member input at all times, and especially welcome it now while the process is still pliable.  Share your thoughts with Lisa, myself or any of our Board members.  Vermont can have its best times in front of it if the right steps are taken.  The alternative is not as attractive.

For personal and business success be sure to check out our Wellness symposium at Sugarbush on November 1st.  I will be there with my head of human resources to hear speakers share ideas which have helped many businesses improve the wellness of their employees (CEOs included) while saving money.  I hope to see many of you there too.

So, what were the results of our ‘extra questions’ with this survey you ask?  Roundtable answers mirror general poll figures with President Obama, and Governor Shumlin showing comfortable leads.  Thank you for your strong participation in the survey and best wishes for success this fall and beyond.