Most difficult thing I’ve had to do: Plan for my Business
Planning has been the most difficult undertaking for me in my career. When I introspected on the why – I learned planning wasn’t my go to or my default setting. Passionately leading a team from the front, inspiring a business unit around a vision and program managing initiatives is like breathing for me. Project Management and Planning are not the same. Ask me to plan for a quarter out – and I used to stumble. Not planning for a business can impact the proper functioning and sustainability of a startup or even an established business unit. Incredible mentors helped me identify and prioritize this for my development which helped me grow into a skilled planner.
Why Plan: Simply put, planning reduces the element of mystery or randomness associated with results – be it daily, weekly or quarterly. Planning allows for laser focused execution. Having a plan in place allows for a lean approach to make tweaks and pivot where necessary.
Hacks to Planning:
Look Backwards: In sales for instance, you have pre-defined goals or targets that need to be met. Look at the end result and define (write them down!) clear and actionable steps that will help arrive at the end result.
Measure, Frequently! – Daily, Weekly, Quarterly: A plan is only as good as our ability to measure (evaluate, understand) outcomes daily weekly and quarterly. You become a skilled planner when you know how and when to zoom in and out with your approach to measuring outcomes. Zoom in and out = Know when to go Micro vs. Macro.
Visibility: Write the plan out – Whiteboard it. Go real-time and dashboard the plan if necessary. Inform others of the plan. Gather consensus from key players on the team and then publish the plan. Buy-in will drive max visibility and alignment when it comes to executing the plan.
Bottom line: Are you able to tell a story that in essence conveys your plan? If it sounds complex – it needs work. Simple is not easy.
“A business with a good definite plan will always be underrated in a world where people see the future as random” – Peter Thiel, Zero to One.