Preparation, a Critical Ally for Greater Personal and Organizational Success

I have spoken to people that believe that planning and goal making are not really for them. They believe that if they plan, they will be constricted, and if they make goals, they will just set themselves up for failure. I guess that is one way to look at it, and I can understand the latter part of that. I admit that I don’t know everyone in the world (not even close), but I have never heard a successful person say something like that. There are people that seem to have a lot of luck in life, but for the rest of us, we need to prepare ourselves for success, and we need to plan for it. Graveyards are riddled with good intentions, lost hopes, failed dreams, and plenty of regrets.

Definition of "Preparation"

Business, Sales, and Marketing Planning 101 – What Needs To Be In Them!

Sales-Plan-Marketing-Plan-Business-PlanWhat I am about to lay out is no secret. In fact there are probably thousands of sites that talk about this, but I am hoping that I can simplify it and and encourage everyone to understand the importance of planning, and how to do it. I wanted to write about this because it boggles my mind how many business owners/CEOs/Presidents I have met, that do not know how to write a Business Plan. Plus how many Director of Sales/VP of Sales people I have met that do not know how to write a Sales Plan, and how many Director of Marketing/VP of Marketing people that I have met that do not know how to write a Marketing Plan. Not sure how any professional of that level could get hired without the leadership ability to plan, but it seems to happen quite often.

If planning can bring so much success, then why don’t more people do it. One of the reasons I have been told by many is that they are just not sure what to put into a plan. That is exactly what I will address in this post.

Great Planning CAN Save a Bad Strategy and 19+ Questions to Answer in a Strategic Plan

Strategic-Plan-Execution-Plan-Leadership-Todd-NielsenI have seen a lot of failed strategies with companies, as I am sure you have as well. These strategies come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are an idea on the back of a napkin. Sometimes they are a copy or slight modification of a competitor’s strategy, sometimes they are a fancy PowerPoint full of charts with hockey stick curves. The same is true for the personal strategies to get us where we want to go in life.

It is easy to get excited about an idea or a strategy that you just “know” is going to work and make you successful. It is easy to rush in and start executing on that strategy to bring it to fruition as soon as possible. On the other end of it all though, it is not a pretty sight to see an organization, or person, fall flat on their face, after being filled with so much hope and grandeur of success.

Vital Elements of an Execution Plan that Optimize Success for Leaders

Execution-Plans-Todd-Nielsen-Success-ElementsMany people have a hard time with planning, or do not realize they do… It is easy to have an idea in your head and then stare at a blank piece of paper trying to figure out where to start. This is true for personal plans and also any kind of business plans, be it Annual Plans, Quarterly Plans, etc… On that same token I have seen people who think they are good at planning, and end up putting lots of notes into a document that are cryptic and hard to figure out.

Let’s talk about some needed elements that are important for creating great execution plans. There is a lot that goes into complex planning, such as business plans, annual sales plans, and annual marketing plans (to be covered in another post), but when it comes to execution planning, these are critical elements to make sure you achieve what you are aiming for.

4 Planning Lies & Why Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning


It happens… there are some people who have a great idea and can whisk their way into a market and do much more than “make ends meet.” There are some people who can get promoted into a new position and think that their charm and charisma is going to take them far. There are some leadership teams who meet weekly, solve problems and expect massive growth from just solving problems.

Planning – 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan


Do you want to know a little secret to success? You want to know how to focus and prioritize your work? You want to know how to get yourself or your organization out of a funk, and increase success many fold over? Start planning. Planning isn’t sexy, it is often grueling, tiring, and frustrating, which is why many people and organizations, fail to create proper plans to make themselves or their business more successful. There are plans of many types. Strategic Plans, Annual Plans, Quarterly Plans, Monthly Plans, Sales Plans, Marketing Plans, Life Plans, Success Plans, Execution Plans, and the list goes on and on… In the next week of posts, more or less, I’m going to dive into this topic of planning. I’ll be sharing the elements of a good plan, how planning can save a bad strategy, the lies and myths of planning, and different types of plans, as well as what needs to be in them. Before we dive into that, one must have a desire to take themselves or their organization to a new level, they have to not just plan for success, but plan well. If you have any doubt on the importance of planning, take a gander at these 25 stellar benefits.

Stop Talking About it, and Start Doing

If we took all the time in our lives that we thought about doing something, and planned on doing something, and compressed that together, I bet we’d have years of inaction that prevented us from achieving many things. I have been involved in many projects where team members wait until the last week of the quarter to start on their part and then they don’t get it done. I have consulted and coached with individuals that knew what they had to do, but every excuse in the world prevented them from acting. I have seen business owners spend thousands of dollars on training, and then they do absolutely nothing with that training to help their company.

The last year I have had some stresses that have taken a lot of my energy. Wait… hold on… do you see what I just did? I just made an excuse. Sure I had a tough time, but I could have moved an inch, instead of not moving at all. I can’t blame my inaction on anyone but myself. The same goes for you. Don’t be one who says they’ll do something and doesn’t follow through. Create a plan and act. Even if your action is small, you’ll be closer and closer to your objective.

To Execute, and Be Productive – You Gotta Clean House…

I have been through many different training courses on productivity and read a lot of books, and while I don’t practice a particular one,  from them I have formed my own personal methods and processes. One time I was hired for a consulting engagement because as the client said, “You get an amazing amount of things done, so I want to work with you to learn how to do that.” Recently though I felt as if I was bogged down and wasn’t getting as much done as I wanted to. I had trouble making decisions, and was making dumb mistakes on things that I should not be having trouble with.

I knew what one of my main issues was, and I dreaded tackling it. It is the thing that is the Achilles heal of executives the world over… email! I have various email accounts for different purposes. Over the course of the last year as life has been stressful and frustrating, I let them dwindle into chaos. It took me over a week, to delete over 30,000 emails (yes that is correct). Most of them were just old stuff I had no reason to be saving, or were from lists I have signed up for and a ton of articles I emailed myself to review again at a later time. It took a while, but when I finally got my inboxes down to zero, it felt like a huge weight came off me and I could feel my mind clear.

8 Things You Learn When You Hit Rock Bottom

I’m not going to say I have at anytime, hit rock bottom. Doing that seems to me as dangerous as praying for patience. Having had some low points in my life that felt like rock bottom, here are some things that I learned.
  1. It gives you empathy for those going through similar struggles.
  2. It gives you perspective that the only way to go is up.
  3. It clears your mind of the clutter and the noise that is preventing you from progressing.
  4. It helps you overcome the fear of action. (i.e. “What do I have to lose?”)
  5. It helps produce clarity to see what’s important.
  6. It helps to increase your resolve to change.
  7. It helps you realize things in your life you need to let go of.
  8. It humbles you.

J. K. Rowling said about her rock bottom moment, “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Are there any other lessons you’d like to share?

Simplifying My Life and My Blog

The last year of my life has been tough. I have had a lot of ups and downs. I am thankful for some good friends that have stood by me and helped me to keep pushing ahead. It has been difficult at times, and I have come to the conclusion that in order to move forward, I need to simplify things in my life.

One example is this blog. I have a love-hate relationship with WordPress. I love it for what it is and what it does, but I hate it for writing. It is not the writing actually, but all the mechanics around publishing a blog post. I have to write the post, edit the post, optimize it for SEO, assign my tags, my keywords, my categories, and write an SEO description. Then I have to find an image, buy an image, crop it, compress it and upload it. Sometimes, OK often, the thought of doing all that, prevents from writing in the first place. I have almost 90 draft posts waiting for all that to be done to them, erg…

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