Focus, Plan, Execute
We all know we’re supposed to plan. We’ve been taught about its importance and the techniques to accomplish it since grade school. However, most of us really only plan for the shorter term. Sure, we may have contingencies in place for emergencies, but in our day-to-day business lives our plans may only extend into today, next week, and maybe next month. We often look only at the here and now, rather than the future.
In today’s demanding world of competitiveness and economic uncertainty, planning is essential for survival, no matter what your role or your company’s size. Those in industries that have been slowed by recent economic challenges know all too well that we can’t fully predict what the future holds, so any confidence you have in your ability to plan has diminished under the uncertainty of the past few years. Even if you planned before, you may not be planning now. Instead, you may be taking one day at a time, happy you can keep going. But this won’t get you ahead.
Focus: The anatomy of a plan is that it must focus on a purpose. What are you trying to accomplish? Why? To what degree? Dream big and reach high, but be honest about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and the available market. Are you creating value for your customers? The essence of purpose is that it brings strategy into focus. It is the key to defining your large-scale future goals so you can define your purpose clearly for everyone involved.
Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, you should know what you’re trying to do and why. Everyone around you should know it, too. This motivates everyone to reach higher than the present and achieve more. It also paves the way to clearer identification of goals.
Plan: Once you define your focus, you can begin to create a more strategic and future-focused plan. It should be goal-oriented, reaching further than today. Achieving business goals depends on your ability to make today’s activities directly impact tomorrow’s objectives. This plan is the first step toward business efficiency, growth, and/or recovery.
Once you define your focus, you can plan the steps to accomplish your desired goals. This plan, with a strategic focus, is the only way to look ahead toward the possibilities of what you can accomplish. Realization of your goals will depend on this critical component of seeing yourself beyond where you are today.
Execute: Next, seek to align today’s actions with tomorrow’s purpose and strategy. This enables you and your team(s) to create a solid plan for execution that is designed to get you where you want to go, rather than just maintain. The execution plan should be clear and specific. Each item should be assigned to one owner. Due dates should accompany the plan. Finally, execution of the plan is dependent upon follow-through for each item on the plan.
All too often, we aren’t looking at tomorrow when we decide how to utilize our resources today.
Focus… Plan… Execute…
When you finally make it through these times of economic uncertainty, remember that you won’t fully resume success without a future-focused, well-executed plan. Whether that plan is to continue what you were doing before or completely re-invent yourself, your plan is the key element. You have to believe you can do more than get by. You have to be confident. You have to live your days in pursuit of higher goals. Not only does the business need clear purpose, but the people running the business need to understand, embrace and thrive on that purpose. It is what will drive your team to successfully meet your goals.