This article first appeared on the KLC Group website.
#Change It Right! When it Comes to Planning, Easy Does it
Everyone knows the importance of planning, yet few take the time to devote sufficient time to it. However, this time of year lends to time between the Christmas Holiday and New Year’s Eve. The gap is a perfect time to set goals, analyse the previous year’s performance, and establish a plan for next year. However, don’t rush the project. When it comes to planning, easy does it. Like my brother, Jake would say, take it more easy.
Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
In business, planning is one of the most critical success factors known. Without planning, you can end up in a disastrous situation. Flying by the seat of your pants has never been a good idea when it comes to business. Plan your work, work your plan is an overly general cliché, but within it lies the truth of the ages. Planning includes goals, goals establish a target for which to aim.
You must plan to have a way of measuring your results. That is if your goals mean something. If you don’t objectively review your one, three and five-year goals, there is no way you are going to have an accurate estimation of where you and your business end up down the road.
SWOT – The Foundation
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats; the foundation of a structured planning session. By identifying all of these, the basis of your plan. Whether it be a personal career plan, business operating plan, marketing or financial plan, examining all of these factors will provide solid footing on which to build your plans.
Slow Down and Think
Just because you have elected to create a formal plan doesn’t mean you have to rush to the end. Think it through. Do a thorough job. The SWOT analysis will provide a wealth of information regarding needs and opportunities, as well as issues that require improvement or adjustment. Rushing to “tick off the boxes” won’t produce the quality of plan worth having.
Use time to your advantage by concentrating on one facet of the process at a time, without wasting it by flitting from topic to topic. What seems like the perfect tactic will more than likely be improved upon or swapped out for a better one if you perform methodically.
A word of advice, be able to articulate your rationale to others involved. Don’t simply say because you think it makes sense. Justify to satisfy.
If you are just beginning to put planning to work for you beyond its idealistic concept, know this. Your ability at the conclusion will be far advanced from your abilities at the beginning. You’ll be awkward, slow-thinking, uncertain and frankly frustrated just starting, but it will get smoother, the process get faster, and improvement ideas will flow easier.
Emotion Overrules Logic
As in everything, remaining objective makes the most sense. Emotion overrules logic 100% of the time. Humans are emotional beings. The trouble with that is our thinking becomes blurred and distorted by emotional thinking. Logic, on the other hand, minimizes emotion, often providing more rational thinking. Don’t be fooled entirely, however. Simply because logic and emotion are on opposite ends of the spectrum of thought, don’t forget to consider that everyone has their own perspective. Perception is reality to the individual, so emotion or logic is singular in nature. That’s why it is so important not to plan in a vacuum. Employ a team.
We Versus Me
It’s almost laughable how leaders often think. Rather than have the objectivity to rely on a large brain pool, they often allow their arrogance and sense of self-importance consume the air in the room. If you want the best to result from your planning sessions, rely on the group to devise the plan and all its facets while you simply facilitate. You’ll gain buy-in on the front end rather than experience top-down backlash when the plan is distributed.
In the End
Planning is no easy feat, but it is possible to create and maintain an effective set of plans by which to operate, market and control your business effectively and efficiently. To think it is insurmountable to accomplish is folly. Even the smallest of businesses (solo-preneurs, consultants, coaches and the like) can benefit from the planning process. Just remember to take it more easy.
David J Dunworth