Written by Eric Leaman
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” – Winston Churchill
I know Churchill’s quote has become a bit clichéd (‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’) but the thing about clichés … they are more often true than not.
Good planning, the process of thinking through how you will accomplish something is the only way that you will achieve anything. Things will not happen because you wish them to and life’s pitfalls, pratfalls and misadventures are largely the results of bad planning (or no planning at all).
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it.”- Alan Lakein
Good plans shape good decisions and good decisions make things happen by purpose not by accident… or worse, by someone else’s design or plan.
How do you create a meaningful plan and the actions that will get you where you want to be?
Take the written lists created when you asked yourself “What do I want?” (Personally, professionally, financially, relationships, etc.) and for every item answer:
• What do I need to do to achieve or get what I want?
• Who or what will I need to help me?
• What do I have to change or add to my life, my skills and/or my outlook to achieve or get what I want?
• How long will it take? OR How long will I give myself?
• How will I measure my progress?
• How will I KNOW I arrived?
In writing everything down you MUST be brief! Keep the action plan for each item to less than a page. The more complete AND short the better.
“I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal
Brevity is essential for good plans and almost everything else in life. The more words are involved in planning and detailing something… the less likely that anything is going to get done. Be brief but also be SPECIFIC because you must be able to see and track your results.
You should be able to get onto one page what you want or will accomplish and how you plan to do it. More than one page and you will glaze over when you read it.
Tip: Write everything out once just as it comes to mind. Set it aside. Read it all a minimum of 3 times after that and each time shorten it by at least 10% each time you read it. Just wording things in more concise and simple manner will get rid of more words (and make everything crisper) than you think.
Fine tuning you plan is also essential. You cannot ‘set it and forget it.”
When you have reached a goal or completed a step toward achieving what you want or accomplishing what you want congratulate yourself and then move it off your plan.
If something new arises or it becomes clear you need to adjust or add something to your planning add it and make it part of your daily review.
Finally: You MUST take a minimum 15 minutes every day to review your plans and your progress. Like the need for daily physical exercise to remain physically healthy, you must exercise your plan and your vision daily to keep them healthy and moving you forward.
Here is a tip that has worked for many to help them make their 15 minutes a day work for them. Make one summary page of the items you want and the TOP actions and activities that will get you there. This page will change fairly frequently and should be a high level rundown or outline of your total wants and goals. Read and manage this page daily and read your more detailed lists on a rotating basis getting to each at least once a week.
“No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.” – W. Clement Stone
Enjoy the journey, enjoy the destination!
Eric W. Leaman
Organization for Entrepreneurial Development
Unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit.
Change your mind … and EVERYTHING changes