Category Archives: Planning

Planning and Plans, Goals and Achieving Them

“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…..

Doing Less, Leading More – the type of leadership that get things done

Here’s a great article on a key theme – doing and leading. I think it asks some really valuable questions about something that is quite close to my heart, and in actual fact at the top of the page right here on the blog. Take a look:  http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/doing-less-leading-more/

The key distinction and insight I believe is that to do less and lead more you have to be able to get things done through and with, people. There is no point in being a good leader, in fact you are not being a good leader if things are not being achieved, getting done…. The question is how.

Are you getting it done by doing it yourself, or by doing through other people, by leading them? An interesting and perennial problem we’ve all grappled with. The instinct to roll up ones sleeves and crack on and do it yourself and be the pacesetter, is very strong, but ultimately that is not leadership.

As the article says………‘the softer skill sets, the real leadership, the ability to work with others and through others, to execute, that is still in very scarce supply.” Learning how to do this and to embed it into the culture of the organisation is the challenge.