3: Journey planning

When we first start driving, we instantly set a goal in the form of a destination.  But our destination is not the garage where we finally park our car when we’re too old to drive.  Rather, it’s a series of discreet journeys which might be a short distance to be covered in ten minutes or a longer trip taking several weeks (or even years).  Each time we set out, it is with a particular place in mind and at least some idea of the directions.

Business people can be so wrapped up in the act of doing stuff, that they often forget to set discreet goals against which to measure progress.  As each month and year passes, they wonder why they have not fulfilled their vague expectations.

The six P’s (proper planning prevents p poor performance) is a reminder that we all need to take a strategic approach to life: where strategy simply represents knowing where we are trying to go and how we are planning to get there.  And as with longer journeys, businesses need intermediate targets to better enable them to allocate resources and measure performance.

Ironically, planning like this often works best in reverse.  First identify where you are ultimately trying to get to, what this would look like and what elements would need to be in place for you to get there.  Next, organise these elements into a series of chronological steps, working backwards and each time asking ‘what would I need to put in place to achieve that’ until you reach the current situation.  Allocating realistic time constraints to each discreet step will give you a fairly clear idea how long it will take you to achieve the overall goal and also give you time bound markers or targets along the way.

Planning is an important task that helps clarify your vague expectations and then achieve them.

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