Get a plan

Isn’t it time to get a plan?

You know in the back of your head, it is time to get a plan.

But planning is such a pain. You’d rather get things done! Not waste time planning.
Besides no one reads plans after they’re done. No one follows them. Getting a plan is a lot of work and there is no real payoff.
Really? Do you believe that?
Do you want to grow—your business, yourself professionally, as a leader?
Consider for a moment that with a plan, you could…

  • Discover new opportunities
  • Understand how to manage your resources better
  • Continually improve your processes and methods
  • Get some coordination of effort and focused effort
  • Over come some sticky obstacles
  • Set yourself apart from others

Brian Hill, Chron outlines these five payoffs nicely.

Get a plan

What are the guidelines to get a plan?
First, some principles to put together a plan.

  1. It is NOT a one off, once a year, once every two years effort.
  2. It is NOT to pawn off to a consultant or someone else in the organization. It is too important.
  3. It is about continually improving, continually learning personally and organizationally.
  4. It is about alignment of staff, processes, activities and approaches.
  5. It is about weekly or monthly assessing, updating and refining as necessary.
  6. It is about staff engagement to get everyone pushing in same direction.
  7. It is about doing your homework as the leader in an organization.
  8. It is about getting a trusted advisor, business coach to help go through the process.
  9. It is about growth.

What homework does a leader need to do to get a plan?
Good question. So here you go. 9 steps to get a plan.

Know your strengths and blind spots and weaknesses in both yourself and your organization. This is where the gotcha lives. We love to tell ourselves things that may not be true. An honest, hard look at who and what your really are is crucial. Time tested, objective personal and organizational assessments play a key role here. Use them.

Know your beliefs, values and mission. If you haven’t spent the time. Now is the time to work on it. It takes time, so don’t expect to build this one afternoon at an offsite. Unless, you’ve spent a fair amount of time already working through these issues.

Establish a future picture of what you want. (aka a vision).  This picture of future determines the general direction you will be heading even when off course. You know your destination.

Write out SMART goals to get there.  Writing SMART goals forces you to think them through and become articulate and specific. Oh and don’t forget the deadline to achieve the goals.

Understand why you are doing each goal. What do you and your organization get out of accomplishing the goals. Be articulate here too.

Identify all obstacles in achieving the goal. Add in all the fears, concerns and worries everyone has. This is the time to add these.

Brainstorm ways around each obstacle. Bring others in. This is a perfect time for an offsite. Not before.

Cherry pick the best set of activities to get a plan in place to achieve your future picture of what you want.

Assign and communicate and track. Assign activities and goals to people. Communicate the strengths and blind spots, the beliefs, values, mission, vision and key goals continually. Track progress, identify new obstacles, refine and rework weekly, monthly. Revisit the higher level steps once a year or so. Maybe more often when bigger issues pop up.

In my experience it generally takes 90 days of focused work to get a first pass plan in place.
So go get a plan. Be patient with yourself and do not skip steps. Skipping steps is undisciplined sloppiness.
You are in business, a professional, take it seriously.  Become disciplined and do your job. Your job as a leader whether of one or large group, company is to have a plan and execute it.

Helping Leaders Breakthrough

“Dominate your life with Focus, Decision and Execution.”