August 15, 2019

Crafting A Leadership Business Plan

by Kris Gibson

Head of Brokerage Sales and Operations is an executive search project I’m currently working on. With any senior sales and leadership position, as the candidate vetting process has unfolded, many insurance agencies find themselves in the difficult position of deciding between two candidates. In this case, the organization wants to be very mindful of the individual skills and strengths each candidate brings to the table.

With an entrepreneurial spirit, they’ve asked each finalist to create a First 100 Day Action Plan. Imagine trying to encapsulate 20+ years of career experience into a fairly subjective outline. While it’s easy for producers (they list target clients, revenue projections, dates, goals and projections) it’s much more difficult for leaders. Here was my advice to the finalists of this project. Hopefully its helpful to you when the time arises too!

Constructing A Business Plan: Potential Pitfalls

  • One page or a 10-page dossier? The role is big but the plan shouldn’t be. K.I.S.S. (great acronym to keep this simple). Don’t write a 10-page document outlining everything you know and would ever want to do under the sun. Be concise and realistic.
  • Walking a tightrope of specificity is a challenge. Business plans are generalizations and conceptual ideas more than to-the-letter descriptions of action. Strike the balance between being specific in some areas but a little more nondescript in others. Just don’t make the entire piece sound like “fluff”.  
  • Play to the company’s ego. People like to talk about themselves. In this case don’t talk about you but display what you know about the firm. Then let your action steps piggyback from those factual statements. 

Constructing A Business Plan: The Nuts & Bolts

  • Harken back to the formal job description. Make sure to touch on all of the silos in the role – Personnel Management, Process Management, Operations Management, etc.
  • Set the agenda around your narrative. Budget mindfulness, employee management style, etc. Build that into your action plan in a way that demonstrates who you are and how you’ll do the job.
  • Remind them of the interview process. You’ve made it to this point because you’ve crushed interviews. Reiterate past points you’ve made or heard them make. Relate your skills, approach, and beliefs about management to the organizational philosophy. Share your beliefs about what this role means and how the right candidate should function.

Food for Thought: In the end, an executive business plan should look less like a college thesis and more a blend of a personal bio and a living, breathing, workable document. With this approach you have one more opportunity to demonstrate that you know what they need and that you’re the perfect fit.


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