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No Plan is a Plan to Fail

Not having a game plan is the first step to not making your business a success

By Nathan Jamail

Nathan Jamail

In the beginning of the year, gyms are busy with new members who have the same “old” resolutions to get into shape this year. If a business leader wants to have a successful year, they can’t treat their business plan like a New Year’s resolution. Instead they must treat the business plan like a championship coach treats his game plan. All great sports coaches have a game plan prior to starting a game.

Creating Your Game Plan
Don’t write a business plan; rather create a “game plan.” To really make it work, a leader must do more than change the name but should understand the difference. 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 a person the what, how, when and why of achieving particular goals. A game plan is all about taking control of the business and how to ensure that others will not affect the business negatively.

Step 1. Write it Down
The first step in creating the game plan is simple, and yet it is what most people reading this will never get to: write it down. If your game plan is in your head, it is not a plan, it is a thought. Thoughts have no business value until you write them down. Writing a game plan does three things for us: creates thought process, creates confidence and creates action-results.

Step 2. Stop and Think
Professionals who create a game plan are forced to look at their desired results and focus on what activities are required to achieve their goals. Just the focus and thought it takes to create a 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, people who create a game plan become more confident in themselves and therefore become more motivated to take action. A real workable game plan is more than a three-ring binder you look at once a year and put on the book shelf for the next 11 months to collect dust.

Step 3. Be Logical
When a leader creates a game plan, it should not be a dream that a person or team cannot achieve; however, it should be a stretch from the "norm." Many business consultants and leaders say that making a plan realistic is a sure fire way to limit one’s success. Realistic is not a good measurement metric because it is limited by the past and provides excuses. For example a sales manager will say, “The salespeople are only making 10 calls a day and it is unrealistic for them to increase it to 50 times per day immediately.” Or, since John has never exceeded X amount of sales then it is not realistic for him to do so. The activity and goals need to be logical, not realistic. Logical takes out lack of human discipline and desire. A game plan should force a person or team to always believe they can be No. 1. Logical says, “Someone has to be No. 1, why not me?” Stop being realistic, start being logical and 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. You also have to implement what you write down.

Step 1: Define Expectations
Have every supervisor explain their expectations to all direct reports, starting with what time to be at work, and what the supervisor will do to coach and develop their team. Even top leaders with proven success records need to do this. The higher the pay grade, the more important the expectations. Show your commitment as a leader by providing the template for defining expectations to your team. A good plan will show where a person is now, where they want to be in the next three to 12 months and, most importantly, how to get there.

Step 2: Work the plan
All leaders must inspect what they expect. Ronald Reagan said, “trust but verify.” A great way to keep business plans front-of-mind for everyone is to make each person present their game plan every quarter in front of their peers and superiors. This allows the entire team to hold each other accountable. A true game plan is worked and adjusted regularly. Having a game plan takes a team beyond a person telling their boss or leader what they want to hear.

Step 3: Stay Committed
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 everyone to keep working.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group and author of "The Sales Leaders Playbook," is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former executive director for Sprint, and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. His clients include Radio Shack, Nationwide Insurance, Metro PCS, The News Group, Century 21, Jackson National Insurance Company and ThyssenKrupp Elevators. To book Nathan, visit www.NathanJamail.com or contact 972-377-0030.

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