Planning: And Then Execute Your Plan

First, slow down and plan the most effective way.

We may procrastinate about creating a plan, but we really know that we work better with a plan. Remember: “Plan your work and work your plan”? Well, there is planning and then there’s creating a plan. No matter how large our company, business or organization, planning helps the business move forward. Let’s see how planning works for others and me. We’ll keep it simple, because simple plans are easier to execute.

Planning is a Process

Think of planning a process of Thinking—Planning—Doing. Slow down and think about what has happened with your previous plan and how effective it was. Be critical and honest. Here is a simple, but effective, planning model.

Did you meet or exceed your planning goals?               

What dropped that was important?

How did you respond to barriers you encountered?

Were you aggressive enough?

What should you stop trying to accomplish?

What was the bottom line?

Did your last year’s plan make a difference?

Collaborating with others is helpful whether it is the board of directors, leadership team, department heads, colleagues or even another business leader who can mentor you if you are a very small business. Talk through the past results, present business conditions and future insights or market conditions. Depending upon the frequency of changes in your business, you may need to plan in three, four or six month periods. Don’t assume that a 12-month plan is best for you. Think and talk about it before completing your plan.

Write down you plan with simplicity, clarity and excitement about your future. Use a simple format. You can see many formats on the internet, but use one that fits your needs. Make sure your plan speaks to your mission and business proposition. Include the values and behavior that will guide you and others throughout your planning period.

Chunking the Plan

Here are some suggestions for executing your plan with discipline. We can easily write our plan and then place it in a drawer or brief case and not look at it until the year ends. Chunking the plan for executing it with intention helps by planning in two-week periods, or three, or four weeks, whichever works for you. Experiment with the right executing period for you and your organization.

Focus on your priorities within the executing period. Keep in mind that you can’t do everything at one time. Your plan should probably include a timeline to think about a “series” of actions that need to be in place. You want to move forward with confidence that you won’t forget important steps. Please write your “To-Do” lists separate from your plan. Certainly move your plan priorities into your daily or weekly to-do’s, but be aware of the depth you need to go through each day, week etc.

Executing your plan takes discipline and personal accountability. We must be intentional about making things happen or else it slips away. This is where a simply understood plan is helpful. Find people to meet with once in a while to review how you and your organization are doing. If you are a “solopreneur”, find a colleague to help hold you accountable or even a family member. Don’t overcomplicate your plan and above all, DON’T OVERCOMMIT!!! We need to build in flexibility. We also shouldn’t feel guilty about something not working or not getting done. Just forgive yourself and move on. Guilt only slows us down by robbing us of the energy we need to keep moving forward. Let it go.

Review and Adjust

Measure and review your plan and what you accomplished at least quarterly. Have a meeting with your team or even with yourself. Make the meeting special. Invite others to join in on the review. This may be a good time to have a mentor attend. Evaluate what worked and what didn‘t. Find out why the implementation and actions impacted the progress. Analyze why things didn’t go as planned. Look to the measures you identified for accomplishing the quarterly goals. Slow down and dig into the “why” and “why not”.

Adjust your plans according to what didn’t work for the last period. This is the time to look at the past—present—future again. You may want to let go of some things that didn’t make a difference. You also may want to put more energy into what did work and do more of it.

Please keep in mind that planning is a process not to be rushed. Execute the plan with personal accountability. And, make sure you review the plan and results periodically.




About Bud Roth

Bud is a seasoned executive with over 25 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies. Roth Consulting Group LLC focuses on team and executive coaching, organizational renewal, expatriate support, and improving leadership performance. Bud's recently published book, Be More Productive – Slow Down, suggests methods of reflection and actions that guide us to regain control of our busy life and reduce stress by slowing down.

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