In my March 30th post, I spoke about the top three excuses people use to avoid spending the time and energy necessary to plan for success. In continuing on the planning theme, I will explore the benefits of planning and how they can push uncertainties to the sidelines.
I frequently make the analogy between a road map and the plans created in business. Your vision is the destination and what will be achieved when the implementation plan (your business road map) is successfully executed.
Failure to execute a project well can be a major obstacle for a business leader. Failing to execute can result from a lack of clarity of what is to be done, lack of understanding on how to implement steps, or procrastination or even fear of failure.
Your business or project plan should outline in detail
- the steps that need to be taken & how they will be accomplished,
- who is accountable,
- when that step should be started and end,
- what resources are needed.
Your plan provides the clear direction that you and your team require to effectively and efficiently move a project forward. It will also keep you focused on where you are at any point in time and able to celebrate the successes as you hit key milestones.
Whenever you decide to implement a change, the decision is accompanied with some risk. What happens if the changes are not successful? What happens if… the cost savings are not realized? …or the profits aren’t increased? … or staff fail to be more productive? Business leaders must learn to identify information quickly and effectively and make decisions with the information they have at hand. Waiting too long can be costly in time, resources, and outcomes! Making a decision too quickly can also be detrimental.
Planning reduces uncertainties by forcing you to look at what is on the horizon and anticipate these events. You can then take steps to act, mitigate risk or change direction. Part of the planning process should include a risk assessment. What are known risks? What are the limiting factors? What steps would mitigate the risks? How do the risks change when variables are modified?
Risk is further mitigated when you use any new information that becomes available to reevaluate your action plan and either stay the course, stop, or change direction.
Your plan is a working document but when you have taken the time to think through the risks and limiting factors associated with each stage, the need to make major changes should be all but eliminated. Every change will have something pop up that was unexpected, or deemed to be a low or negligible risk. As such, detours may be needed and the plan must be altered.
A change in direction can be viewed as a set-back or part of the change process. It can also be viewed as an opportunity to make improvements or incorporate new options into the plan.
How will you react to the need to change direction? With a strong plan, your ability to make informed decisions improves, which increases your success rate.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
If you are ready to examine your business strategy, plan a new project, review systems and processes to improve efficiencies or implement changes to grow your business… contact me. Let’s explore how my consulting, project management or coaching programs could help you.