Buttonwood VP is a unique approach to planning, the only one that looks
at the entire process - from strategy through execution - as part of a single,
unified system to drive improved results. The goal of Buttonwood VP is to
seamlessly integrate Strategic and Operational Planning with Performance
Scorecards, Management Reporting and Rewards. Buttonwood VP employs
coordinated mechanisms, processes and policies to make this common sense goal a
|A "meat & potatoes" approach. One
of the easiest planning solutions to implement.
Improved bottom line results as strategy is translated into measurable action.
A company actually achieves what it says it will - the key to managing investor
All the arrows get aligned, everyone is rowing in the same direction.
Complete implementation guide available in the bestseller Value
Planning (John Wiley & Sons).
|Managers who now operate with absolute autonomy
and independence may resist being made part of a new, integrated effort.
If reducing the cycle time of the budget process is the only goal, this
approach is inconsistent with meeting that objective, as the new planning
process requires that managers take responsibility for developing and meeting
Technology systems need to be developed to track initiatives and non-financial
Care and attention needs to be paid to the selection of the drivers of success
and their key measures.
Can this work for my company?
Buttonwood VP is a simple, straight forward approach that can greatly improve
the planning process. In fact, it's been dubbed the "meat &
potatoes" approach to better planning. It's so straightforward that it can
be easy to overlook its value. Here's an analogy. According to the American
Automobile Association, the number one thing a car owner can to reduce repair
bills and extend the life of her car is to change the oil every 3,000 miles.
Since thirty minute oil change garages have popped up like weeds, this
shouldn't be a problem, right?
Wrong. Just ask yourself this. Will you, now knowing exactly what you need to
do to reduce your repair bills and extend the life of your car, change your
car's oil every three 3,000 miles? Chances are very high that if you're not
doing it today, you won't in the future, in spite of the fact that "now
you know better."
Other things will come up, or you'll simply forget to do it. Even if you've got
good intentions, chances are you'll be pretty inconsistent. Instead of
consistently going every 3,000 miles, you might first do an oil change after
5,000 miles, and then after 6,300 miles or 7,200 miles.
What's missing is a mechanism to get you to do it. Something
as simple as putting a notepad in the glove box with the dates and mileage of
each oil change can help. Other people put a desktop reminder on their PCs. The
thirty minute oil change garages try to help by putting a sticker on the inside
of your windshield to remind you. Some automobile companies are even planning
on installing voice reminders in the car's computer system.
The point is that knowing what you should do, and actually doing it, are two
different things. You need a mechanism to connect knowing and
That's what Buttonwood VP is all about.
While it might seem obvious that all the components of planning should be
integrated in order to be effective, few companies have actually achieved this
end. It's no mystery that strategy should drive operational planning, or that
consistent performance measures should be used in both and summarized in a
performance scorecard. Most people would also agree that this performance
scorecard should be integrated into ongoing management reporting. Of course
nothing happens without people, so plan goals should be reflected in individual
objectives and performance reviews.
Pretty straight forward, so why isn't everyone doing it?
Because many companies lack the mechanisms to fully integrate each aspect of
the planning process. Buttonwood VP provides those mechanisms.
The simple objective of Buttonwood VP is to unite all the major components of
planning into a single, unified system. To use another analogy, there are
distinct components of the "Billing to Cash" cycle from preparing and
sending out invoices, to dunning notices, to collecting and depositing checks.
The traditional approach was to analyze each component on its own, and try to
optimize it. But companies found when they examined the process in its
entirety, a whole new picture emerged. They could see the fumbled hand offs,
the opportunities for disconnects, how a problem in one area affected all the
others. Armed with this information, they were then able to optimize the entire
system and see far more dramatic results.
Buttonwood VP takes a similar approach. It examines the entire "Strategy
to Execution" planning cycle. And just as in the "Billing to
Cash" cycle, the flows and connections from each component are examined
and understood. Specifically, Buttonwood VP looks at how the Strategy is
developed, and examines the hand offs to operational planning. Buttonwood VP
assesses the existing performance measures, and how exactly they are integrated
(or not) into strategic and operational planning. Management Reporting is
examined as well, to assess if the measures used and targets set in the
planning process are effectively being reported. Finally, the human resource
policies on performance reviews, merit increases, bonus, and personal
development plans are examined to see how they support the achievement of plan
The result is a document that lays out the entire "Strategy to
Execution" planning cycle, and highlights both the linkages and
disconnects that exist. And as in the "Billing to Cash" cycle, the
company can then make whatever improvements are necessary and beneficial.
In implementing a Buttonwood VP approach, there are three basic alternatives:
||Alternative #1: Simply audit the existing
"Strategy to Execution" planning cycle. Does every aspect pass the
"Ten Foot Test"? Typically, each integration point in the planning
process looks good until you get to within ten feet, then the opportunities for
disconnects emerge. After the audit recommendations for improvement can be
made. These improvements should focus on the nuts and bolts mechanisms,
policies and procedures necessary to integrate all the components of the
"Strategy to Execution" planning cycle.
||Alternative #2: Clean the slate. Erase the
existing strategic & operational planning processes, performance measures,
management reports and rewards systems, and fully implement the Buttonwood VP
blueprint as it exists in Buttonwood VP:
The New Approach to Building Value Every Day (John Wiley &
||Alternative #3: Customize the Buttonwood VP™ blueprint to fit the existing needs of the organization,
keeping the basic framework as a starting point.
While the Buttonwood VP approach does not have the same "brand name"
recognition as, say Rolling Forecast, it is among the most thorough and
complete solutions offered, and is proprietary to The Buttonwood Group LLP.