What’s the Plan?

What’s the plan? It has to be done. It’s the start of a new year and as ever it’s a chance to have another go at planning how you are going to be so much better!

I love a good plan. Anyone who works with me will know that I always ask that dreaded question, where is your plan? For most of us the plan isn’t the problem, it’s delivering it that causes all the pain and disappointment. It’s the surprises that come and get in the way. It’s the underestimation of how long things take. It’s not recognising how badly you communicated to people and it’s thinking people know how to do things that they have never been shown how to do.

Here are some tips for successful planning.

Tip 1 : Limit how many tasks you are going to work on. Set yourself some priorities and be aware of how quickly the time will go. How about 3 goals for 3 months (too many goals mean that you have no priorities). You still have the day job but the focused goals need to rise above that. You need to decide where your time, talent and attention need to be spent to achieve the goals. The day to day stuff keeps you afloat whilst the focused goals move you forward.

Tip 2 : How will you know if you have succeeded – set some criteria. Be ruthlessly realistic about what you can achieve in 3 months. Be really clear about progress – set some concrete signs for that. You need to be very clear about the tactics to achieve the goals here. Don’t tie yourself up in knots but equally don’t be so loose that you can’t get on with it. Walk through the steps in your head or imagine the task is complete and you are patting yourself on the back – how did you get there? You need to become an expert at gap analysis in order to identify the best tasks to take on.

Tip 3 : Divide and conquer – who is going to do what? What are you going to do and what are you going to delegate to someone else? Divide. Don’t lose sight of the fact that goal setting is about boosting productivity – it’s not about adding more to everyone’s plate! Remember the rules of delegation e.g. don’t abdicate the responsibility, make sure they know how to do what you need them to do, coach them first to check they are realistic about the barriers that might get in the way. Ensure they understand what success looks like. Check in with them and praise them when they do well.

Good luck and enjoy it – who needs a crystal ball when you have a robust plan?

Penny Whitelock FinstLM

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