In the beginning of the year gyms are busy with all the new members with the same “old” resolution to get into shape. If a business leader wants to have a successful 2010, then he or she can’t treat the business plan like a New Year’s resolution, that is, like the same old broken promise a person makes year after year. Instead, a leader must treat the business plan like a championship coach treats his game plan. A business leader must be more committed than those people that go to the gym every day starting January 3rd but by February 1st need a GPS system to find it.
All great sports coaches have a game plan prior to starting a game. Business should be considered in the same way. Don’t wait for the government to tell you if 2010 will be a good or bad year. Create a game plan that will make sure 2010 is a great year for you and your team.
Creating Your Game Plan
To create a game plan, the first step is to truly understand the difference between a business plan and a game plan. A business plan is something that a company would give the bank to get a loan, or what a company may use to determine the financials. A game plan is something that tells a leader or members of the leader’s team the what, the how, the when, and the why of achieving particular goals. A game plan is all about taking control of the business and ensuring that nothing will affect the business negatively.
Step 1. Write It Down. The first step in creating the game plan is simple, yet it is what most people reading this will never get to: write it down. If your game plan is in your head, that is not a plan; rather that is a thought. Thoughts have no business value until you write them down. Writing a game plan does three things for us: (1) creates a thought process, (2) creates confidence, and (3) and creates action and results.
Step 2. Stop and Think. When an executive or manager creates a game plan, he or she should look at desired results and really focus on what activities are required to achieve the set goals. Just the focus and thought it takes to create a real game plan is beneficial and helpful. It creates an environment to review what has worked, what hasn’t, what is working for others, and so forth. In addition, when a person creates a game plan, he or she becomes more confident in himself or herself and therefore becomes more motivated to take action. A real workable game plan is more than a nice three-ring binder that a person looks at once a year and puts on a book shelf for the next 11 months to collect dust.
Step 3. Be Logical. When a leader creates the game plan, the plan should not be a dream that cannot be achieved; however, it should involve stretch from the “norm.” Many business consultants and leaders will say that making a plan without stretch, that is, which reflects the norm, is a surefire way to limit one’s success. Such a goal is not a good metric to measure by because it is limited by the past and allows for excuses. For example, a sales manager will say, “The sales people are only making 10 calls a day and it is unrealistic for them to increase it to 50 times per day immediately.” Or, maybe, since John, the sales person, has never exceeded x amount of sales, then it is not realistic for us to expect him to do more. The activity and goals need to be logical, not a reflection of the past effort. Sticking to the past takes out lack of human discipline and desire. A game plan should force a person or team to believe they can do more. It should say, “Someone can exceed past performance, why not us.”
Don’t let your past limit your future; let your present create a momentous future!
Implementing Your Game Plan
Although creating the plan is imperative to getting started, it is the just the beginning. For success, you also have to implement what you write down.
Step 1: Define Expectations. Have every supervisor give his or her direct reports their expectations starting with what time to be at work, ready to start, and what they will do to coach and develop their team. Even the top leaders that have a proven success record need to do this. The higher the pay grade is, the more important are the expectations.
Show your commitment as a leader by providing the template for defining expectations to your team. The game plan is what a person creates that will become their playbook on how they will exceed their leader’s expectations. A good plan will show a person where he or she is now, where he or she wants to be in the next 3 to 12 months, and most importantly how he or she will get there.
Step2: Work the Plan. All leaders must inspect what they expect. A great way to keep business plans front of mind for everyone is to make each person present their game every quarter before their peers and superiors. This will allow for the entire team to hold each other accountable and not just the direct leader. A true game plan is worked and adjusted regularly. Having a game plan takes a team beyond a person telling his or her boss or leader what the individual wants to hear; rather, it takes them to making the plan their own.
Step 3: Stay Committed. So many companies have the best ideas and intentions, but often fall short of keeping a successful coaching program running. Watch out for the “Power of New” profit taker. ‘The Power of New’ can be described as an organization or team that is excited about new programs, changes, or a new game plan, but after a few months, this “new” stuff starts to look suspiciously like work and the “fun-ness” wears off. A great leader knows that working on the business is the only way to motivate everybody to keep working in the business.