Time to Plan

In my last posting, Time to Think I emphasized the importance of spending time thinking before jumping into action. Now, let’s look at an intermediate step between thinking and acting; a time to plan.

Some Background

Many people spend enormous amounts of time developing a business plan that looks great on paper but never really gets used. This is why I am so keen on having a simple plan even if you also have a detailed one. See The Business Plan – Hold On to the Napkin and Unfocused Business for more on this. The fact that so many plans are never really used points out at least two things; one it may be more complex and lengthy than need be, and two it was not well thought out before writing it.

Now, assuming you have spent the time to think through what you want to accomplish, whether developing a business plan or something else, it is time to jump into planning.

The Planning Process

Regardless of the project, a time to plan involves taking the time to organize your conclusions from the time you took to think through what you wanted to accomplish. This is where something like a mind map is very useful. If you are not familiar with mind maps, they are basically an alternative to an outline, only they are more visual, easier to modify, allow you to add things as they come to mind, and give you a quick glimpse or picture of your thoughts. They are much more visual than an outline. However, if you prefer it then an outline is certainly acceptable.

Once you have your mind map or outline it is time to start writing a plan of action. That plan should include goals, cost, people to be involved, specific actions to take, how to get adequate feedback, and perhaps many other things. As you can see it is rather involved, so be sure to allocate sufficient time. Also, the amount of work this involves should help you appreciate the necessity of taking some time to think before planning. By the way, a mind map is a great way to capture your thoughts and can later be used as a tool when planning.

You and Your Company

Do you and your company, when undertaking a major endeavor, first take time to think and then allocate sufficient time to plan before acting? Action without direction can be costly in both dollars and time, so I encourage you to take the time up front to think and then plan before acting. It is really very similar to the thought and planning that goes into a vacation before you take it.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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