If you have been avoiding holding a coaching or performance conversation, then grab a coffee and enjoy this week's blog. One of the most powerful motivators at work is to feel that you are progressing and contributing to meaningful work. What separates highly effective leaders from average ones is their recognition of the power of coaching. So build our confidence and lead well!
Can you believe that we are over half way through 2017 already? The end of the financial year brought with it a time of reflection, as we looked at the books, reviewed our business plans and become accountable.
Plan to Achieve! It’s no accident
If you don’t want a life of imitation, then one thing’s for certain – you need to plan to be different. If you were a fan of our Plan to Achieve suite of resources you are going to love our new Business Planning Toolkit. It’s designed to support those of us on a mission to achieve awesome.
We have long been a fan of using planners, but there’s nothing more annoying than the rigidness of a printed bound diary or business journal. You love using it for a month and then start to find fault with what it doesn’t do for you. Planning is such an individual, and we think creative process. Whilst we love and religiously use a paper based diary system, we find it hard to conform to tradition. What was available just wasn’t working for us. That’s why we made our downloadable Business Planning Toolkit and decided to share it with our Scope Vision enthusiasts. We wanted to give you the freedom; to put planning in your own hands. You can download it, print it out and plan your journey. No page restrictions, no useless areas in your planner – if you don’t use it – remove it! Plus you can print as many of your favourite planning tools, as often as you want! We believe, if your planner doesn’t work for you – you should change it – but never lose sight of your focus.
How to plan to achieve
At Scope Vision we believe that business planning shouldn’t be daunting. There’s a formula to follow if you want to succeed. It’s a matter of visualising where you want to go, and then creating SMART goals to keep you accountable as you action plan how to get there. Your focus then shifts to monitoring, as you review and collaborate, staying focused on the mission.
If there’s one thing we know about business, it’s to keep your eye on the ball, even if you can’t see the ball. Change is the only constant. This is why planning can never take on a ‘set and forget’ mentality. The reality is that what you focus on becomes reality. So you had better figure out what matters most and focus on it - hard!
Let’s look at the critical planning steps outlined in our infographic in more detail, our Business Planning Toolkit gives you templates and challenges to tackle if you want to start building an awesome plan.
Establish and set SMART personal, professional, team and business goals; then regularly monitor them.
As the saying goes ‘If you don’t know where you are going; you might wind up someplace else’. If you don’t get specific and make your goals measurable then the reality is you are unlikely to achieve them. Too often we set goals that are not specific and more than likely unachievable. With this attitude it’s little wonder that most of us set ourselves up to fail! If you generate SMART goals (ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), then follow up on your progress regularly, you will be well on your way to achieve everything you have planned.
Generate awesome plans
Always put your intentions in writing, but make sure that you get creative when you’re doing it! You have to plan your execution so you can execute your plan. Make it fun and think differently. There are so many concept tools within our Business Planning Toolkit, you will never be stuck for ideas and fresh thinking. The same thinking will only see you stay in the same location. Your plan should help you and the team move forward with confidence and your SMART goals when critically monitored, will ensure you all get there.
We regularly collaborate and pulse-check our progress in the following areas of our business:
- Marketing Strategy
- Business Goals [Plan on a Page]
- Workforce and People Development
- Personal Master Task Lists
- Project Plans - Various
- Work Health and Safety
- RTO Compliance and Continuous Improvement
Of course you should generate awesome plans for all of your identified key drivers within your operations. There’s no point planning for the sake of planning! Plans generated need to be real, working documents that capture your vision as well as what you do. Zig Ziglar attests ‘Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation’. So plan every opportunity and then execute your plan.
SWOT and SOAR your way to success
To SWOT or not to SWOT, that is the question. At Scope Vision we definitely say SWOT it! SWOT your business (as part of your strategic planning process); your team (to uncover the status quo) ; an opportunity you want to effectively explore; a competitor you would like to analyse; a problem you need to solve; a product in its life cycle; a person you would like to develop and grow….SWOT it!
Strengths identified should be leveraged with action plans established to take advantage of them; Weaknesses should be actioned with a view to diminish them. Opportunities must be actioned to take full advantage of them (this is where new money streams flow from) and Threats should be reviewed assessing the impact they will have on your plans moving forward. Ultimately you want to mitigate threats, or worst case scenario minimise their impact, but sometimes all we can do with them is be informed. Many sit outside of our circle of control.
If you’d like to read how some of our clients use SWOT in Action; head over to the website and read the blog: There’s nothing more exciting than a fiscal boner, or use the template in our Business Planning Toolkit to get you started.
SOAR: a new planning approach to SWOT
If you haven’t heard of SOAR don’t panic! It’s a business planning tool in a similar vein to SWOT. The main differential between the two is that SOAR provides more of a strength-based focus than SWOT does. In SOAR, weaknesses are explored and reframed as opportunities. When you focus on improvement and growing capabilities, rather than the negative, opportunities flow.
SOAR provides a team with a framework for conversations:
- What are we doing well?
- What skills can we improve on?
- What is most compelling to us and our stakeholders?; and
- SOAR forces the team to engage in appreciative inquiry thinking
At Scope Vision we use SOAR monthly to pulse check our strengths and be accountable for our progress. Completing a SOAR analysis not only clarifies the opportunities we must focus on, but helps us to visualise where we want to go so we can plan for it and identify our results.
Check out our June SOAR in action (below) and read more on the concept in our latest eBook Don’t Just Fly…SOAR.
Analyse your environment: PESTLE
It’s always important to view your business in the context of the broader environment in which you operate; PESTLE is the right tool to do this. PESTLE asks you to analyse the impact of the following factors on your business continuity: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Once established, you only need to pulse check your analysis once a quarter, or when a significant change occurs. Whilst many of the factors analysed are beyond our circle of control, in business we still need to strategise how we will minimise the potential impact of each on our business. Even the smallest of businesses are not immune to global impacts, as evidenced during the Global Financial Crisis.
Lessons learned; a time of reflection
At the end of each month we Reflect & Focus. We ask what's been working well for us, the challenges we've faced and what we've done to action plan them. We find the more reflective we are, the more effective we become. Reflecting on last month’s performance helps us to look forward and definitely influences our future plans. Analysing critical business moments gives us the opportunity to reflect on and refine current practices; identifying those that are working well for us and highlighting clearly those we should stop.
If results are the reflection of your efforts, then you need to ensure that your efforts are focused on the right activities. To read more on ensuring you PAY yourself well so that you starve your distractions and feed your focus, check out our previous blog which outlined just what your time is really worth.
Evoke success through planning
We hope you agree that planning isn’t daunting; it’s fun! The right planning tools will empower you to visualise the future, generate SMART goals to action plan, monitor your progress and mindset, measure your results and push boundaries, be agile and adapt, be curious and grow. Confidence and capabilities fast replace hopes and dreams, as your plan to achieve evolves!
If you need help with your next business planning day and need to think differently, then contact us to facilitate your workshop. If you found value in this article hit the ❤ button then share it with someone you know that would benefit from reading it! Be curious and engage!
PAY yourself well
Have you ever worked out your hourly rate, or the value of your time in 10 minute increments? Do you know what your time is actually worth so that you can prioritise your activities by yield and PAY yourself accordingly?
What's your time worth?
Let’s say your salary was $100, 000 per year, you take 6 weeks paid leave and 1 week of public holidays are accrued annually, you work 37.5 hours a week [1725 hours of work per year].
Your value per hour is $59.26 and every minute of your time is worth $0.99.
OK, so you’re not quite Bill Gates earning roughly $114.16 per second, but 10 minutes of your time is still valuable; it's worth around $10.00.
As you start to think of your time in 10 minute intervals, the value you place on activities changes. Someone comes into your office for a chat. 10 minutes passes; you are effectively handing them $10. 20 minutes late to a meeting, the cost to everyone involved is proportionate. When you value your time, you value your focus.
Valuing your focus
Effectively prioritising your tasks enables you to realise what is important and what is not. Not every task is important and not every task is urgent. Knowing the value of your tasks and their importance in helping you to reach your goals will help you to allocate more time to those tasks within your Daily Focus planner.
Steven R. Covey in his book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ suggests using a 4 quadrant matrix to help you realise just how important and urgent your tasks actually are. He suggests that you classify what you do according to their level of importance in helping you to realise your goals.
Covey's classification system
Quadrant 1: Important and urgent
He refers to this quadrant as the quadrant of necessity. Here you find tasks that are important in achieving your goal, and they have an impending deadline which makes them urgent. These tasks must be finished and require your immediate attention and focus. These become your number one PAY activities and are scheduled in your Daily Focus planner.
Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent
Quadrant 2 should be your focus. Covey calls this the quadrant of quality and personal leadership. How you plan for and execute tasks in this quadrant is visible to those around you. Whilst tasks in this quadrant are important, they can always be planned for. Focus given to these tasks increases your effectiveness. Schedule them in your Monthly, Weekly and Daily Focus planner. These tasks definitely increase your yield.
Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important
The quadrant of deception, these tasks usually offer little value to your goals. Try and avoid these tasks as much as possible. Spend time focusing on what is important. Learn to say ‘No’ or to delegate them wherever possible. PAY someone else; they are stealing time and focus. You don't want to see them on your planner!
Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important
These are your low priority tasks that give you the illusion of being busy, Covey calls this the quadrant of deception. The tasks have little significance in your life and often take up a signification proportion of your time on a daily basis. Keep postponing these tasks forever and you will notice a significant increase in your productivity, never PAY these in your planner.
Plan your focus
Planning and goals are important if your dreams are to become your reality. Goals quickly become redundant if your daily activities do not revolve around the tasks that help you achieve them. Everything on your Daily Focus planner should be aligned with your goals. If you want to run a marathon, then your Daily Focus planner will be filled with running commitments. If you want to be an awesome manager, then your Daily Focus planner will be filled with one-on-one meetings with your team members.
Business Planning Toolkit
If you need help with your time management and business planning skills then checkout our Business Planning Toolkit designed for those who don't want a life of imitation. It's a downloadable, printable, reusable suite of awesome resources - Business Development Tools, Project Planning Tools, Time Management and Concept Development Tools - all guaranteed to get you business focused!
Plan Differently. Think Differently. Focus!
If you found value in this article hit the 💙 button below, then share it with someone you know who would benefit from reading it.
If ‘Feedback is a gift’ as Ken Blanchard attests, then why do so many of us want a refund, or wish to re-gift it straight after it’s been given? How feedback is afforded often differentiates whether we perceive it to be of value, or quite frankly put – just ‘an elephant to the head’, something that negatively weighs on your mind. This week's blog explores Appreciative Inquiry; a process you can use to encourage curiosity, stimulate thinking and explore!
Having problems encouraging the team to have awesome thoughts? Is everyone living inside the box and contributing average thinking when extraordinary is what's required? It may just be time for you to embrace Edward De Bono's 6 hat parallel thinking philosophy. This week's blog explores De Bono's tool for critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.