Are you a planner suffering from the Superhero Illusion? We struggle with this, which is the assumption that we can accomplish more than is possible. We just completed a week where we reviewed our progress and set our strategic goals for 2017. Here is a list of our best planning practices:
- Future Focus – what is your ultimate outcome or purpose? A plan must be in service of accomplishing something bigger. As Stephen R. Covey said, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” To plan well, we’ve found that it’s essential to define our future focus. The purpose of Brighton Leadership Group is to eliminate the erosion of human potential in the workplace. We focused on creating plans that help us accomplish that purpose.
- See the Whole Picture – plans don’t get completed in a vacuum. What is the bigger view that must be considered? This is one of the challenges we had when we did planning in the past. We’d look at one area of our life or business and come up with a giant plan. When they all got added together there was not enough time or energy to accomplish everything. By looking at the whole picture you can see where there is imbalance. In 2015 we saw that our volunteer service, while noble, was crushing our ability to accomplish our purpose. So we made changes last year that balanced our volunteer time and enabled us to achieve our plans in service of our purpose. The ability to see the whole picture helped us make realistic plans that accelerated growth and profits in 2016.
- 90 Day Sprints – make BIG plans, then break them down. Last year was a breakthrough for us. We have always set goals but then life got busy and another year passed. A 90-day focus provides a more realistic timeframe to get things done. An improvement that we made since last year was to schedule a day for review and planning for the next 90 days. That ensures that we maintain the rhythm of the 90 day sprint.
- Review and Celebrate – while it can be exciting to make plans, the real value comes from review and celebration. How do you know what’s working if you don’t take time to review and recalibrate? When we did our year in review, we discovered that we accomplished everything we said was essential to get done. That was encouraging because it felt like the year was so busy we didn’t do anything we were supposed to do. Review creates intention and signifies the importance of the plans you make. Celebration creates motivation to do it all again.
New Year’s resolutions have been mocked ad nauseam. Rather than make a resolution, make a plan to succeed. When you are shaping your plan, consider your future focus, then look at the whole picture. Make a BIG plan, then break it down to 90 day increments. Finally, make the time to review what did and didn’t work. Recalibrate the plan, plan for the next 90 days and celebrate the previous 90 days.