“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
Wise words indeed.
I find that being flexible with business plans is essential, designing in the opportunity to adjust and recalibrate. Too many times businesses put together a detailed plan with a lot of interrelated actions, which, once one or two have gone pear shaped, all others seem to follow. This is very demotivating for the team and can quickly lead to abandonment of the whole plan, and an increasing disenchantment with whole process of planning too. There’s no need for this, it’s crucial that a business finds a way to plan, and then a way to implement that plan. If being flexible along the way achieves this then so be it.
I’ve found that looking no further out than 3 quarters works well, with a review each month of simple summaries of the activities -‘investigate and develop a plan for the installation of a CRM system’. If these activities fall behind then just move to them to next quarter (obviously try to get them back on track but if you can’t then hey, stuff happens…). In my experience this has proven to be the most satisfactory way to plan and then to actually get things done over the long term. There’s no need to beat oneself up, the idea is to set some goals, plan to achieve them and then actually do so! Holding rigidly to a plan at all costs often achieves very little in the end. In essence it is the act of planning, which is an ongoing process, that really produces results. To quote Eisenhower:
”In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”
How are you developing your goals and plans at the moment – and how much flexibility are you building in to the process? Don’t be scared to plan for flexibility too.
Plan, keep planning, and plan to keep planning…..