The Best Laid Plans
What is that saying about the best laid plans? Planning is one thing, but on its own is really pretty ineffective. If you think about it, I can plan to take a nice holiday but unless I get on the plane, the holiday won’t happen. I can plan to lose weight or get fit but unless I eat better and start exercising then the chances of achieving the aim are zero. Once I have a plan, I also need to figure out a way to implement it.
Your business is no different. I’m often talking about the importance of planning and how a fail to plan is a plan to fail. Business planning is one of the most significant contributions you can make to your business. As you see though it is really only half the picture, half the story. Once you have the plan, you need to develop a way to implement it.
There are a couple of ways of looking at this. I always find the implementation phase exciting. It is where I get to see how the plans I have made, either in my own business or for a client, can work to achieve the stated goals. The difficulty is that many of us see the implementation phase as the difficult part. It is true that many businesses fail to plan at all but a good number of those that do plan, fall down in the implementation phase.
Don’t think that is limited to micro or small business either. I’ve worked with some larger businesses which have spent large amounts of money developing strategic growth plans only to have them gather dust on the shelf. Having the planning completed can be exciting as it gives the business owner a chance to dream, to determine exactly what they want from their business and to really explore opportunities and possibilities. When it comes to then implementing the plan, many business owners suffer a real blockage. This may be because the thought of implementing the plan becomes overwhelming or it may simply be that the planning process has taken all the time and energy they have at that time for working on their business. Either way, the outcome is the same.
One way I have found of moving past that blockage is to look at the implementation as a reward for the planning. In that way you can view the implementation from an entirely positive perspective. It is a simple psychological concept that how we view a task will impact our ability to start it, let alone finish it. If we look on a task as a burden then our effectiveness will be dramatically limited. By viewing the implementation as a reward, we can put a positive spin and attend to the challenge accordingly.
The other important factor is to break the implementation down to manageable pieces. Take your plan, whether it is a strategic business plan, a particular growth strategy or a plan for a particular project in your business, break it into stages and then determine the steps you need to take in order to achieve each stage. In this way you will have developed an implementation strategy which puts your hard earned plan into action.