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Elements of Successful Planning

Courtesy of Mardi Hughes, Picasa.Have you ever planned a team retreat or a meeting or even a date with your spouse? How did it go? We’ve all had situations where we hoped they had gone better. We beat ourselves up with all sorts of “if only” thoughts. “If I’d only have scheduled the venue earlier.” “If only I would have advertised it more.” “If only I would have invited so-and-so to speak.” Hind sight is 20-20.
There are some elements that we can incorporate into our planning that might make it more successful next time.

1. Plans need to be meaningful
If the plans come from a third party, such as a consultant, there will be less buy-in by the team. It is not their idea; it’s not their plan. People are generally far more motivated when they are championing their own notion, rather than something that has been imposed upon them.
the plans need to be connected to the organization (team, company, family). Motivation will be lacking or absent when the plan comes from the outside.
2. Align the plan with the strategy
Again, this applies to large organizations as well as small teams and families, even individuals. If the plan does not mesh with the over-arching goals and mission of the organization, then run away! Even the best plans, when the contradict the organization strategy, will fall flat on their face.
3. The plan should be feasible
I would never set a goal to build my muscle and frame so I could move my car with my bare hands. Sounds silly just reading it. There might be a reader that has that goal, but for me it is far too unrealistic. First of all, I have no desire to do such a thing (#1 above). Secondly, it would serve no purpose in my life (#2 above). And thirdly, I know that no matter how much I work out and pay that personal trainer, I am never going to be able to reach that level of strength.
Make sure your plan is feasible–that you have the resources (time, money, and people) to carry it out.
4. A good plan has all the facts
Read Stephen R. Covey’s Speed of Trust. Well, not right now. Finish reading this post first. When our communication is open and honest business moves much faster and decisions are made much quicker. And they’re better decisions! Your plan needs to consider the big picture. Ask questions to clarify: What if. Five whys. How. Be open-minded about the answers.
5. Your plan should consider the customer
Maybe you are the customer because this is an individual plan. I can almost promise you that very few decisions or plans that we make affect only “me”. In SixSigma terms we conduct what is called a “Voice of the customer”. We ensure that the process we’re attempting to improve is really what the customer wants and needs. Does the deliverable of your plan meet the needs of your customer?
I’d conclude by saying, “Good luck with your plans”, but luck has little to do with it. Repeating excellence is not always easy. Just achieving excellence ONCE is sometimes difficult. (Trust me; I know.) But it also does not come without consistent and directed effort. Humans now days are not accustomed to such extended exertion. You can do it. I believe in you.
Categories: Planning
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  1. 25 January 2012 at 7:34 am
  2. 25 January 2012 at 4:55 am

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