We believe planning is an essential tool to improve your probability of a successful outcome. To illustrate this lets consider preparing for a road trip.
Step 1 – Begin with the end in mind.
While considering the outcome we will start what is the purpose of the trip. Most of us take road trips or plan travel from time to time for business, pleasure or a little of both. As we begin, we identify the purpose with some questions like-
- Who is taking the trip?
- Who do we want to see?
- Where are we going?
- When are we taking the trip?
- What do we plan to do when we reach our destination?
- How long will our travel take?
Step 2 – Drafting the plan.
After we have determined the purpose we begin the process of planning & preparation. First we will begin by doing our research with our available resources to learn more about our destination; using internet search capabilities, social media, personal communication and gathering references. As we collect the new knowledge we have, we can be better prepared with having the right tools available.
What is our action plan? We can plan our action strategy by establishing the details by day with goals we want to accomplish, using our resources so we can target who we want to meet, the time frames involved and by tracking our milestones to achieve. We want to be executing on our action plan by also including collaborating opportunities with key resources, inquire for new resources/referrals and collect new ideas. Now we can collect the details, whereby we gather information that can support our action plan with timely execution of our objectives with a follow up list of take away items.
Please note, since we cannot know everything that may be ahead of us it is best to be prepared with back-up plans. Just like when you travel there can be delays or setbacks; flat tires, canceled or delayed flights, road construction, etc., that can affect our well prepared planning. When unexpected events happen you want to be prepared to make timely adjustments or modifications quickly, so you can still continue to execute on your overall goals.
Step 3 – Document the experience.
The purpose is to establish rapport, build relationships, or making new discoveries. So to ensure you have pen and paper, electronic tools (laptop or tablet device), camera or recording device to capture the discussion, important points, follow up items and any deliverables that results for the meetings held. Don’t forget the importance of thank you cards and personal notes to those that were in attendance.
Step 4 – Take time to reflect, before acting on your follow up plan.
As stated by Earl Nightingale
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”
Take time to reflect on where you have been and who you spent time with and what you learned. Recap and compare your results to your original expectations. What did you learn? Where are the opportunities?
You monitor whether you are still on track to achieve your plan. If not, use the information you have gathered to make adjustments. Do timely follow-up; thank contacts for their time, their discussions and referrals. Update your action plan and move forward to execute on your strategy. Ensure you celebrate successes by communicating with your team and keep them apprised of the updated status of each account.
I close with a quote that demonstrates the value of planning. “A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.”
H. Stanley Judd