No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. – German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke.
In part one of this post we laid out the first four steps of an 8-step planning process. Those 4 steps represent a fair amount of effort and thought, more than the average person puts into an entire planning process.
Despite that effort and thought you STILL don’t have a plan! Those first four steps are only about preparing to plan, they are not the plan.
In part two of this post we’ll finally get to the actual plan. Before we begin let’s review. Here are the first 4 steps in the process:
- Develop a realistic picture of the “as is” or your current situation.
- Paint yourself a picture of the “should be” or your desired situation.
- Determine the investment you are willing to make in order to successfully execute your plan. This investment should be thought of in terms of both financial and time.
- Set short range, medium range and long range goals that will stretch you while remaining realistic and obtainable.
Ok, let’s continue with the process:
Step five – Develop your timetable. A plan is serious business, it’s not a “someday I’m going to” thing. Someday is not a day of the week. Doing anything in your free time doesn’t happen because your watch doesn’t show free time. There is no free time any more. A plan must include a timetable, the timetable has timelines, dates and deadlines. It includes when you will begin implementing the plan and when the plan will be complete. It includes start and end dates for each and every goal, whether they are short range, medium range or long range. Timetables create the pressure and accountability required to make something happen. A plan without a timetable is a plan doomed to failure.
Step six – Prepare the plan. This is the step where the rubber meets the road. You list, with great, great specificity exactly the steps you will take to achieve each goal within the plan. In this step you determine the who, what, when, and how of your plan. Who will help you, who will mentor you and hold you accountable to stick to the plan when the going gets tough? What will you do and when will you do it? When will you review your plan and make adjustments if required? Perhaps most important how will you respond to a failure within the plan? Remember, always remember, a failure in part of the plan does not make the entire plan a failure. No plan survives real life completely intact.
Step seven – Implement the plan! It’s amazing how many people do a pretty decent job with the planning process and then never actually put the plan into action. No plan has a chance to succeed until it’s implemented. It’s okay to start slow but it’s vital to start.
Step eight – Follow-up. This step is critical to the success of any plan. Not just follow up at the end of a plan but follow-up during the entire plan. Review and review some more. Tweak and adjust. Keep your plan alive by changing it as required. It’s not a mistake to admit you forgot something, it’s a mistake to ditch the entire plan because of one or two mistakes. Have your mentor or coach help you review your plan, a good mentor will help you keep it real.
So that’s it, an 8-step process that can lead to success.
Successful people plan, they know that even when the plan doesn’t work as designed proper planning always pays dividends. If you truly want success then do what successful people do….plan!