Are you planning for success?

There’s an oft-quoted saying, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail!”

What is the value of having a plan? Well, the process of putting a plan together, makes you much more likely to succeed if your mind is focused on how to achieve your chosen goal. By sitting down and working through what needs to happen to achieve your goal, you are much more likely to identify what you can do yourself, what you may need others to do for you, and when those activities need to be carried out.

“Clarity of thought leads to clarity of action. And without ACTION, nothing will be achieved…Thus, the value of a plan is in its implementation!”

Make a plan

As when setting out on a journey, we need to know where we are going! This means being clear on the outcome we wish to achieve, our Goal. The clearer we are on our Goal, the more likely we will be motivated to carry out the necessary actions. In short, it needs to be a personally motivating goal. Otherwise, the actions become chores, rather than a means to a highly desirable end.

  • Choose a goal that makes you feel… “WOW! If only I could achieve that.”
  • Write down what achieving this goal would do for you.
  • Write down how will you feel about that.

This vital step makes your motivation crystal clear and serves to support the creation of your plan and spurs you to carry out the actions it identifies.

Make a SMART plan

Developed from George T. Doran´s Management Review piece* SMART goal setting brings structure and traceability into your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates a clear trajectory towards a certain objective, with concrete milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every goal or objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such brought closer to reality. With good old fashioned paper and ink write out the personally motivating Goal we have just identified using the mantra SMART to help us:


Be specific on the outcome you want to achieve. If it is an increase in revenue, write how much you want the revenue to be in numbers and the period over which you want to achieve that, e.g. I want to increase revenue is too vague.


As you can see above it is necessary to choose a goal that you can measure as you progress. Without this how can you be certain whether you have achieved it? What gets measured, gets managed!


Be careful that the Goal you choose is realistically capable of being achieved. We all have pipe dreams of cruising on our luxury yachts to our private islands but in reality that may be a few planning sessions away just yet! Herein lies the difference between these wild dreams and our plans… but by all means make a SMART plan to achieve your wildest dream, and share it with me!


To test how realistic this goal is to ask yourself questions like, Have others achieved it before you? and Did they have similar resource availability? What we don’t want to do is set ourselves up for failure before we’ve even started!


Be clear over what period you want to achieve your goal, or by what date you want to have achieved it. Not just in the next few months but during the three months of July 2018 to September 2018, or by midnight on 31st December 2018. Clarity of dates and periods will all help in measuring your rate of progress as you execute your plan.

After this process were are left with a SMART Goal like, “I want to increase Revenue by 10% over the three months July to September, compared to the same period last year.”

NEXT… plan your plan!

Depending on the scale of your Goal, you  may need to first consider the key strategies that might help achieve your Goal, e.g. if it’s Revenue increase for your business, the strategies might be  Telesales, Networking, Referrals, etc. For each Strategy, we now need to list down the individual activities, to be carried out to deliver that particular strategy, e.g. for Networking, we might put our first activity as research potential networking groups to attend. The second activity might be to call each group to find out more about what they could perhaps offer you and you them in return. The third activity might be to select which one you want to attend first and so on until you have listed all the activities needed to deliver this particular strategy. Now repeat this for each of your chosen Strategies. 

Finally, against each activity, note who will do this (it may not always be you) and the timeframe in which the activity will be completed. Now we have a Plan showing the Goal, the Strategies, WHAT needs to be done, WHO will do it and by WHEN.

Achieve your plan

So what’s left? You might be tempted to say “Do It!” But how good are you at implementing plans? Many of us are good at planning to do something, but not so good at actually getting round to doing it! So what could we do to make it much more likely that we do the do?

I can help you achieve your plan…

My clients get results through the tried and tested ActionCOACH system. Along with our expert strategic resources, they are held accountable to complete their ACTIONs. Knowing that I will be asking so how did you get on? and how do you think that could have gone better? motivates them to see the plan through. After all, who wants the embarrassment of admitting they didn’t do anything?!

You can make a start on your masterplan with the 90 day Planning Workbook below but to make sure it is properly implemented, I recommend that you join our next GrowthCLUB.


At these quarterly sessions, you’ll review your progress, reset your goals & work through all the key actions you need to get there. Walk away with everything you need to execute a clearly written and Actionable Plan.

In summary:

  • Make a plan to progress your business goals
  • Make a SMART plan
  • Use the 3 Business Planning Templates below to make a start

    Join our next GrowthCLUB to ensure they are properly implemented.

    Let me know how your Plan works in ACTION!

*Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Management Review. AMA FORUM. 70 (11): 35–36. Wikipedia