Why is planning important?
If we are facing in the right direction, then all we have to do is keep walking. – Buddhist proverb
I think it is really important to have a clear sense of direction and purpose. But in this instance, why is having a sense of direction and planning important to your team as well as your business.
First of all, what are the benefits of having a plan?
- Control – increased efficiency
- Encourages creativity
- Reduces risk
- Helps you make those tough decisions
- A motivator in uncertain times
- Initiates purposeful actions
- A sense of achievement
How do you get your map?
First of all, you need your big end of plan goal. Something to achieve and focus your efforts on. In our instance, it was a certain amount of revenue and profitability.
To begin, you should gather your “informal board of directors”. These are people you trust and work with closely who can support the basis of your plan.
By having your informal board of directors involved from the beginning, you can float your ideas with them, ask them to sense check you, see what ideas or problems they have to offer.
They should also challenge you on your ideas because the best plans are the ones that have been tested by argument.
The next important focus group is your customers. Do they think your ideas are worthwhile too?
Ask some trusted, loyal customers what they think about your ideas and plans. Maybe start off with more of a vague description as to not give the game away too much. But your customers are the ones who are eventually going to be investing, so you should value their opinions too.
Finally, your wider team and colleagues.
In normal times I’m a huge fan of team meetings and letting people break away into groups to work on plans and projects which can support you.
Make them feel involved and a part of the process too.
At JudgeService we have just recently been working on a 3-year plan which we have just rolled out to the entire team.
We’ve asked them to provide their thoughts and feedback, and also asked them to commit to their own objectives to help us with our plan.
Thoughts and feedback have proved particularly important because we have a product at the moment that we are developing, and one member of my team thinks it’s a bad idea, but as we have these discussions and solve problems on it, his scepticism helps to make the product better.
Like I mentioned previously, I ideally would have liked a big team meeting to discuss our 3-year business plan. What we’ve done instead is smaller video conferencing sessions over a few weeks and have received feedback that way.
Why is a clear direction important?
If you don’t know what direction you are heading in, any road will get you there. You could be hacking your way through the jungle when 100 yards to the right there could be a dirt track or even a 3-lane motorway!
There are 3 main advantages to planning which have become clear to me over the last 6-months.
Having a clear sense of direction motivates people, they know exactly what they are trying to achieve. Since the pandemic began, I wouldn’t have thought this would have been as important but having seen the effects of a solid plan in uncertain times with my own team, I can definitely see the advantages.
Everyone is on the same page
A focused team is a team that achieves its goals. Fewer resources are wasted, and you get the most effective work out of your team.
Actions at every level of the business to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. A cohesive and connected team will benefit your plan greatly. Co-ordinating the efforts of our team will provide stability and balance for everyone involved.
Sometimes when you are a leader you have to tell people things they do not want to hear. Things that need to be done to head in a certain direction.
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 per cent return on energy!” ― Brian Tracy
What are your thoughts on planning? Do you meticulously plan every detail or are you often found “winging it”? Let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this blog post feel free to read some more from the series: