A New Look at Planning

If you are in business, you’ve probably been asked about your business plan and goals a hundred times.  We all know we should be planning, and we’ve probably all read the same books with sayings like “start with the end in mind” and “failing to plan is planning to fail”.  Yet, despite all of this, most business owners either don’t really plan, or don’t plan very well.  So why is this? What prevents us from doing it and doing it well?

What Holds Us Back

In my experience, planning failures tend to come from a lack of understanding of where planning fits in the grand scheme of getting results, followed closely by treating planning as an exercise to complete before you go right back to what you were doing previously.  I run into business owners every week who take the time to plan and then don’t follow their plan, which is simply a waste of time.

The 5 Steps to Success

Let’s start by taking a look at where planning falls in the bigger picture of your business and life.  Achieving success can be broken down into 5 steps: Dreams, Goals, Learning, Planning, and Action.

  1. Dreams are what you want your life to look like at a time in the future (often distant), such as who you want to be, what you want to have, where you want to be.
  2. Goals are the deadlines for achieving the results you need to achieve on your path to your Dreams.
  3. Learning is the education you need in order to achieve the Goals, as we often need to develop our personal skillsets to achieve more.
  4. Planning is just what it sounds like, but is done best in the context of the Dreams and Goals you have created – they become the WHY for your plans.
  5. The last step, often forgotten, is to take Action, to actually do the things in your plan. I like to combine the last two steps into one Action Plan.

Your Why…and Why You Don’t Stick to Your Plan

One of the biggest reasons I see business owners drift from their plans is that they have a weak connection to their WHY, their Dreams and Goals.  Growing a business is hard work, with lots of interruptions and unexpected roadblocks to sticking to our plans, yet sticking to our plans is often the best way to reduce the interruptions and eliminate roadblocks over time.  We sometimes have to stop and deal with what the world threw at us, but then we have to get right back to the plan ASAP.  This can be hard, as the interruptions can be fast and furious, right?  This is where Dreams and Goals help – do you have a Dream Board or Bucket List?  Review it every day, remind yourself WHY your Goals (achievement/success checkpoints with deadlines) are so important, and the make sure your Plan still aligns with your Goals.

Stick to It

The last tip I have for making Plans and sticking to them consists of two parts.  First, break your Goals down into achievable time periods. I recommend monthly/quarterly, which makes it easier to focus on the plan.  If your shortest timeframe is a year (annual goals), you are not nearly as focused and motivated as you will be when the goal is due much sooner.  Review your progress towards your goals every week.  Second, do the same with your Plan, breaking it down into bite-sized chunks, making it far easier to take the Action Steps to accomplish your Goals.  This is how a Plan becomes an Action Plan, which is far more powerful.  Action Plans consist of the Strategies you choose to implement and the daily/weekly steps to implement them – they are “Who does What by When” documents.

If you’d like to learn and implement a better process for Planning that helps you achieve more in 90 Days then you have ever done before, there are two options for you.  First, you can schedule a FREE 60 minute business review with one of our coaches.  Your second option is to register for our upcoming 90 Day Planning Workshop, aka GrowthCLUB, where we will walk you through the planning process used by our award-winning clients. If you’ve given up on planning, it’s time to take a new look at it.

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY

A New Look at Planning