Kelly's Blog

Feb 11

Planning

by Kelly Perdew Entrepreneur, Leadership, Take Command

Fail to plan, plan to fail. It is as simple as that.

By plan I don’t mean have some idea in your head about your business or your career. I mean a REAL plan. A written plan…that you work on frequently. People always ask me how to get started on their plan and it is really quite simple. I like to use what’s called heuristic, or backward, planning that I learned in the military for my planning process. Basically, you start with your objective in mind then work back to where you are now. This type of planning process can be distilled down into three basic steps:

1. Identify your overall objective.
2. Determine the intermediate milestones and supporting tasks to reach each milestone.
3. Measure your performance and adjust your plan.

Let’s take a look at each of these three steps in the planning process…

Identify your overall objective.
Hopefully, you’ve incorporated your passion into your overall objective. That objective can be anything from getting a job in a new industry or at a specific new company to owning a major league sports team. Whatever it is just make sure it is something you’re passionate about and that it is defined. Once you’ve identified your overall objective, you can begin the processes of achieving it!

Determine intermediate milestones and supporting tasks to reach each milestone.
For any objective you identify, there will be many milestones. And for each milestone there will be many supporting tasks. For instance, if your objective is to find a job in a new industry, say real estate, then you’d have many potential milestones that could include: 1) obtaining some level of formal or informal education about real estate, 2) developing an understanding of the different jobs available, 3) conducting a self-assessment and comparing that to what you’ve learned about the industry to determine for which roles you’d be most suited, and 4) developing a structured network to assist you in finding, closing and excelling in your new job. These are just a few potential milestones, but based on your ultimate objective there can be many, many milestones and they need to be individually mapped out. For each of your milestones there are supporting tasks that must be accomplished. The more specific you are in identifying tasks and timing for them to be completed, the better you’ll be able to track your progress. .

Measure your performance and adjust your plan.

Tracking your progress is critical to success. You can’t know how you’re doing if you don’t measure against your plan. The milestones act as measuring point where you can assess your development and gauge your progress. As part of the process of measuring your progress you may find some interesting things occurring: You may learn that there are new milestones that you need to put in place to reach your objective; some of the milestones you thought you needed to reach your objective may not really be necessary; or you may even find out that you need to adjust your overall objective. Adjusting your plan is all part of the process and will ultimately enable you to achieve your objectives.

Planning is one of the most critical leadership principles that will contribute to your ultimate success in business and in life. Remember: identify your objective, set appropriate milestones and list their supporting tasks, and measure your performance so that you can adjust your plan as necessary.

TAKE COMMAND
!

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