Monday, April 27, 2009

Plan the Work & Work the Plan!

Benjamin Franklin said “Drive your business! Let not that drive thee.”

Not a superior athlete, outstanding coach, or effective teacher has crossed my path who did not have a plan. While some started just with an idea, and others with a grand vision, each of these people had a workout plan, an offensive or defensive plan, or a lesson plan. Similarly, the truly successful, confident and organized business leaders who were prepared for growth and change had a business plan.

Everyone mentioned succeeded with a plan…not because of a plan, or in spite of a plan, but with a plan…with the right plan for them.

Business plans, like personal approaches, are not one-size fits all, and creating a plan for the sake of having one is likely to drive a bit of confidence and raise some awareness, but it is just a plan.

Brian Tracy shared “A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” I agree. Yet, without direction, focus, and real (read as realistic) numbers, no matter how carefully written, a business plan is just a slew of words and numbers.

There are a lot of steps in a business plan. Knowing your customers, your products, developing budgets, strategies and approaches, but the one thing that gets talked about very little is the unwritten part of the plan…the action. For a plan to work, it must be a living document that is current, appropriate and adds value to the overall business. The ideas shared and goals/figures projected must be worked, acted upon and realized.

Peter Drucker said 1 hour planning was worth 3 hours of doing” and that is true for creating the plan…and then the doing must be done! If you do not have a business plan, consider starting one, and if you have one, dust it off and review it for the purpose and usefulness. Plans, like people and businesses can and should be updated in order to keep serving itself and others well!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stop Wondering, Start Asking

"We look at each other wondering what the other is thinking but we never say a thing."
~ Ants Marching, Dave Matthews Band
Think back on your day and recall how many times you wondered - to yourself or aloud, and how many times others wondered (that you know of). Wonderment is fabulous and wondering is stifling. There is a difference. Wonderment is the astonishment or awe we feel, but wondering just keeps us in a perpetual state of not knowing. So, instead of wondering if your company is doing well, if your friends are happy, if you have saved enough, just ask. You may not like the answer, or heck, you may find wonderment in the information, but either way, you are on your way with information on which you can act, and not just a curiosity that leads to no other awareness!