Would you go on holiday without researching your destination? Would you buy a new PC without working out what you need it for? So why do so many businesses trade without an action plan for their future and why do so many of us go through life without setting goals?
Is it any wonder that many of us look back on lost opportunities, or regret those dreams that remain unfulfilled?
Life is not easy it can sometimes be a struggle, but we have a greater chance of success if we have a plan which is written and which we stick to because we know it makes sense and we believe in it.
The biggest benefit of a plan in my opinion is that it helps you improve as an individual, as a team member and as a leader.
Even small improvements can result in massive gains in life and business.
Every day, I see individuals, teams and businesses that have too much on their plates. They have so much work to do and a number of projects that they should or could do on top of this.
They suffer from the trying to do everything and then not doing some things well enough.
In fact some of things they should be doing are not done at all because they are focusing on what they have always done or what they or others perceive they should be doing.
So what can we do to focus on what should be done and what will bring the greatest return for our efforts and investment in time and money?
A benchmark I have always advocated, is that outlined by Ben Hunt-Davis and Harriet Beveridge in their book, “Will it make the boat go faster? – Olympic winning strategies for everyday success”.
In this Hunt- Davis recounts his own journey to become a gold medal Olympian, as a team member of the men’s coxed eights rowing team, which was so dominant at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The most powerful story in the book is about the goals that the team set themselves.
The group knew that to win the final they would have to row 2,000 meters in 5 minutes 18 seconds or better.
This meant that everything they did, as individuals and as a group was dedicated to one aim, to make their boat go faster.
Every action, every decision and every tactic was tested against this goal.
If it made the boat go faster they did it.
If it didn’t help the boat go faster, then they ignored it, as it would not help them win the gold medal they so desired.
Every day we are involved with meetings, we make plans for projects, we make lists but how many of us are doing the right things that will make our own personal boats go faster?
As our world becomes more competitive, it’s worth reflecting on the words of Ben Hunt-Davis.
What they mean for me is that:
If you have a plan that is based on fact, which is founded on your review of the future and analysis of what you want to achieve, then you have a greater chance of success and happiness than someone who just drifts through life and business, intentional or not.
The key is to continually test what you are doing against this plan and ask yourself, is what you are doing now helping your boat go faster?
If not, then why do it?
If it does, make sure your plan can help you do it as efficiently and as profitably as possible.
I’d urge you all to ask yourself everyday “will what I am doing now make my boat go faster?”
John Joe McGinley