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Mice Net : August 2008
business coaching STORY BY Peter Bliss reaching business and life goals Last issue Peter gave an introduction to this growing sector. in the following article he outlines how to start creating an action plan. Where do I start? You all might have heard the saying – and in my case it was shouted loudly and often from an old boss – “don’t just sit there – do something!” Well, the key to putting an action plan together is to do the opposite – so my motto is – “don’t just do something – sit there!” In other words, sit there and do some real thinking; some sort of analysis; spend some time with a blank piece of paper, whiteboard, flip chart – (and/or with a good coach) – and ask yourself: What do I want to do with my business – or life? What is it that I (we, the department, or the company) am trying to achieve? What is stopping me or holding me back from doing this? What am I going to do about this? These basic questions are the start of a plan – call it a business plan, marketing plan, life plan, whatever – but it is the vital and often missed step with many businesses and individuals who often just jump in and do stuff without really thinking. But I’m really busy Being busy is a great excuse for failing to plan. Often we are so busy we forget what it was we intended to do (daily and even in our lives). The fact is that what we keep ourselves busy doing or being distracted by is taking us further from our path. What I suggest you do is take a couple of hours off and do some of this “structured thinking” – even if you need to hire a good coach to facilitate it. Do I need a future vision? Yes, and best to do this as the first part of the analysis. So stop, think and analyse some what ifs… What if I could have or do what I wanted? What would it be? What would it look like? What would it smell like? What would it feel like? What would I be doing? I’m not talking wanky motherhood statements here, I’m just talking a general – even fuzzy vision – of the way you want your life or company to be - and write it down! So start with the big picture: where do I want to be in three years’ time? Five years’ time? Just bullet point notes or words will do, but be as specific as you can be. This session should take no more than 30 minutes. So what’s after the vision? Next step is to increase your awareness of what is happening right now – in your life or business – and again write it down. Like a 20 mice.net doctor’s diagnosis, this is where you are at. One good and simple form of analysis is a S.W.O.T. analysis. Firstly, list all your strengths and weaknesses – either for you individually or for your company – and you’ll be amazed at what unfolds. Be honest and don’t hold back on anything. I’ve had people crying in these sessions (although this is not the objective), but it is still very rewarding to do. Typical weaknesses of many businesses include: we don’t have a sales revenue forecast by month, or we don’t have a marketing plan and associated budget. For individuals it could be as simple as – I don’t have a savings plan or I don’t have my next holiday planned and I really need one. Next is to list all the opportunities. Many of these come out of the weaknesses, and then list any threats. It is these opportunities that will form the basis of the next part of the plan. But there are so many opportunities? This is a good thing. But if you’re in the wrong frame of mind it can be overwhelming. It’s important to now prioritise the key issues (opportunities) and turn them into S.M.A.R.T. objectives. They need to be specific, measurable, attractive and achievable, realistic, and have a timeframe. Ask yourself which of the opportunities are really important and try and come up with no more than six which will take you a bit closer to where you are really trying to go. For example, if you really need a break, even to think, then booking that two week holiday might be your main priority. A SMART objective might be a simple as “I am going to go on a rejuvenating two week holiday at Camp Eden Health Retreat on the Gold Coast in the next three months.” And then what? Once you have your six key objectives these becomes your core focus and much of what you do each day and week should relate to targeting behavioural change that can be measured. We often spend much of our day doing lots of “urgent” things that keep us busy but have nothing to do with really moving us in the right direction. So keep asking yourself everyday: is this thing that I’m doing associated with my six key priority objectives? Peter is best contacted on mobile 0417 221 903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. He welcomes any feedback or comments.