Planning. It’s one of those vital talents in the arena of business. Unfortunately, it seem to be one of those things that you either “got” or “don’t got.” And if you “don’t got it,” you might wonder how you can be effective and efficient in your company.
The truth is, planning ahead is a habit you can build, like any other. And if you’d like to build it, here are five tips that will have you planning ahead with the best of them.
1. Create a Comprehensive Plan
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have a solid plan in place. And plans, like goals, will get nowhere fast if they don’t exist in the first place. (Wrap your brain around that one!)
2. Set Milestones
We travel much faster than we did in past ages, but in the “good old days” stones were used to mark every mile so that travelers could know how far they had gone, and how close they were to their destination. That is what milestones do for any plan or project, so write down some clear markers to track your progress.
3. Brainstorm Possible Problems
Look at your plan – alone and with your team – and determine what issues may arise. Then spend even more time brainstorming solutions to those problems. As Tolkien so wisely wrote, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” Knock any “dragons” out of the park before they arise, and you’ll be on your way to planning ahead effectively.
4. Arrange Your Plan
When baking a cake, chefs know they mix the sugar and butter before adding the eggs. There is an order to recipes, to assembly lines, and to education. Make sure your plan is also set in order, and prioritize the items in your plan so that you accomplish the vital parts of it first.
5. Plan Ahead Regularly
Make planning part of your daily or weekly schedule. It might be something you do the evening before you start your week, early each morning, or during lunch break … but ensure that regular planning for the big and small events in your life is part of your everyday schedule.
Rick Riordan summarizes the point perfectly: “Always, Always have a plan.”
Grow Big or Go Home!