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.
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.
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.
- It gives you empathy for those going through similar struggles.
- It gives you perspective that the only way to go is up.
- It clears your mind of the clutter and the noise that is preventing you from progressing.
- It helps you overcome the fear of action. (i.e. “What do I have to lose?”)
- It helps produce clarity to see what’s important.
- It helps to increase your resolve to change.
- It helps you realize things in your life you need to let go of.
- 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?
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…
An engaging and inspiring environment is usually active and noisy. People are moving around, talking and working together to solve problems and deliver solutions. Team members are pleasant and happy.
Today the leadership trait to ponder is Fun. As leaders we can’t be slave drivers of ourselves and those we lead. While I am all about execution, it is important to also have some fun at work, as well as away from work, to recharge and be able to better focus. The dictionary defines Fun as: enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure; amusing, entertaining, or enjoyable. Below are some of my favorite quotes to help inspire and illustrate Fun. As you read these quotes, think about how you can exemplify this leadership trait in yourself.
Quotes on Fun
I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.” ~Charles R. Swindoll
Six months ago a wonderful and original book hit the world by my good friend Heidi Alexandra Pollard called, Power Up Your UQ: Boost Income, Influence, & Impact. I truly regret not sharing this book sooner, but life has been full of twists and turns that have made it difficult to get my review out. Heidi asked me to review the book last year and write the forward. I was honored when she asked me, but even more so after I finished the book. This book is like no other self improvement or leadership book you have ever seen, I guarantee it. Below is the forward I wrote, after reading it recently, I am sure I could not write anything better to get you to want to read it.
Forward to Power Up Your UQ: Boost Income, Influence, & Impact
“Every successful person has habits, knowledge, and skills that elevate them to rise above others and achieve phenomenal feats. They don’t just desire success, they hunger for it. It’s an unquenchable hunger, and unfortunately there’s not a simple recipe for success. Success is about so many things, such as: changing your mindset, becoming productive, always learning and improving one’s skills. It’s about being creative, asking questions, being a good listener, standing-out from the crowd, and so much more.
Today the leadership trait to ponder is Punctuality. Punctuality is important to me since a leader’s time is almost always scarce. I have sat in many conference rooms with a number of other executives waiting for the leader or some other key member to arrive in order to begin a meeting. I estimated in one meeting that the cost of waiting amounted to be in the thousands of dollars.
I have taught my 6 year old son the phrase, “Early is on time and on time is late.” It’s a motto that we could all benefit from. The dictionary defines Punctuality as: the condition of keeping to arranged times for appointments, meetings, etc. The condition of arriving or taking place at an arranged time; promptness.
Last week I shared an article called 64 Things Every Leader Should Promise. That came from a project I was working on earlier this year in which I wanted to document all the promises that I believe a leader should make to the people he or she leads. Once I finished that list I realized it was not good enough. So I started another list that explained 64 things that I refused to do as a leader. While many of the items are similar to the promise list, many of these were just pet peeves that annoyed me. We all know the importance of “to do” lists and “will not do” lists, this is kind of like that.
So here is my “NOT GONNA DO IT” list, I hope you enjoy the list and it gives you a lot to think about: