Tag Archives: planning

First, the Plan – then the Execution

“If you don’t want to go to Plan B, have a good Plan A.” 
Alex, on Nikita

I love it when a plan comes together.”
Colonel Jon “Hannibal” Smith, The A-Team


From Tim Berry, What Makes a Good Plan?

Here’s Chapter Eight of Toy Box Leadership:  Leadership Lessons from the Toys You Loved as a Child by Ron Hunter Jr. & Michael E. Waddell:

Little Green Army Men — Strategy:  Success is in the Setup

Success is in the setup…

Have you planned your day?  Do you know what you are going to do today.  With each hour of the day?  With each quarter hour of each hour?

What about your week?  Do you know what you are going to do with your week?  Each day of the week?  Each hour of each day?  Each…

Do you what what you are going to do with your month?

Are you beginning to get the picture?  You will get more done the better you plan.  Oh, the plan might have to be adjusted.  But, to quote again this great wisdom from Dwight Eisenhower:

Plans are nothing; planning is everything.

There is a reason that the old wisdom endures.  “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail…” is a piece of that old wisdom.  And it is still, and will always, be, true.

Setup – plan. Then work your plan.

Call this strategy, then execution. 

So, how good a planner are you?

If You Are Too Busy To Plan, You Are Too Busy! – Dan Weston Really Can Help You Plan for a Profitable, Successful 2012

How busy are you?

If you are like me, you are so busy doing your job that you practically never have time to think about doing your job better.

We do not save time for planning, for coming up with a new and or improved strategy.  To actually go through such a process could be the very best use of our time.  But, I suspect, most of us don’t even have a workable process for planning.  So, we need to plan, but we don’t take the time to plan, and we don’t have a process to help us plan.  We are planning deficient in every way.

We’re so busy:  too many fires to put out, too many distractions.  And, we have our actual work to do, every day, always demanding our attention.  And so, we just plod through, day after day, and make few of the changes that would help us be more productive.

2012 is right around the corner.  I think a full day to think about 2012, to plan for 2012, would be a really valuable day – don’t you?

Dan Weston, a Certified Emeritus Gazelles Coach

Dan Weston has the workshop we need.  Based on the Verne Harnish book and principles/habits, the Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Workshop is just the right mix of a little content, a little prodding, a little coaching, and a lot of time to work through your own plan for 2012.  Dan Weston, a Certified Emeritus Gazelles Coach, is a master at leading you in your own planning session.  He guides, you work.  It really is a day worth your time and investment.

You could do this on your own – by yourself.  But you probably won’t.  (Did you take a day last year, to plan for 2011?)

Dan will “make” you plan for 2012. In fact, without a day like this, 2012 will just happen to you.  And, at the end of the year, you’ll say I should have planned better.  Don’t let that happen!  This way, you have a shot at being proactive, more “in charge” of your 2012.

So, reserve your spot, carve out your entire day, bring your key team members, and plan to plan for a profitable growth year in 2012.

Click here for all the details.


Here’s what Dan Weston promises for his workshop:

Learn how to accelerate profitable growth using the Rockefeller Habits.

You will learn these principles for growth and build the following areas of your One-Page Strategic Plan for 2012:

Core Values & Purpose: Enliven your identity and energize your employees
Ideal Customer & Brand Promise: Develop clarity on your “who” and on your unique, targeted and measurable differentiator
Growth Targets & One-Year Plan: Set your strategic targets for the next 3-5 years and your measurable, one-year goals and priorities for 2012
> Priorities & Metrics: Make your most critical short-term decisions for your 13-week race by setting quarterly and personal priorities and metrics
Communication Rhythms: Develop practical and efficient regular meeting rhythms to keep meetings short and effective
Top Talent: Learn to identify, hire and retain A performers who will accelerate your growth
Clarity & Accountability: Ensure everyone in your company is clear on accountabilities and has a roadmap for growth

 All participants will receive a FREE copy of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits!


Dan Weston, and his Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Workshop, sponsored the September First Friday Book Synopsis.  But, I can speak personally, Dan Weston is the real deal, and this day would be an invaluable day for you and your company.

You Know that Next Action You are Supposed to Take? – So, Do It Already! (a little insight from David Allen, and the Navy SEALs)

Some reminders from David Allen (Getting Things Done):

Stuff:  anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world that doesn’t belong where it is, but for which you haven‘t yet determined the desired outcome and the next action step.  As long as it is still “stuff,” it’s not controllable.  It is “an amorphous blob of undoability!”

When a culture adopts “What’s the next action?” as a standard operating query, there’s an automatic increase in energy, productivity, clarity, and focus.

Forget everything (clear your mind of everything), so that you can remember everything you have to do!

Do everything you have to do – one next action at a time.

Next Step (Next Action):  the very next physical action required to move a situation forward!

Discipline yourself to make front-end decisions about all the “inputs” you let into your life so that you will always have a plan for “next actions” that you can implement or renegotiate at any moment.

Keep reminders of your next step where you will see them!

David Allen basically said this: when you don’t know the thing/task you are supposed to do next, then you have a failure of planning.  So, stop what you are doing (make that “not doing”), and plan your next next actions.  Always know the “next action(s)” you need to take.

I think this is really right, and smart, and so very simple.  But…  maybe it is not that simple.  If you are like me, you don’t always know your next action.  You/We fail to plan to that level of detail, that level of specificity.

That level of clarity.

And, as a result, we fall behind, or let the important stuff slip through the cracks.

Consider this, from The Leadership Lessons of the Navy SEALs:

You’ve got a job.  By being there, you’ve accepted that job.  You have specific things to do.  And if you fail at those things, a lot of other people are going to have to pay the price… You may be smart, but if you don’t take ownership of the work at hand, everyone else is going to have to pay for what you didn’t do.

So getting and being clear on your next actions, and then doing them, makes all the difference.

Now, sometimes, we might want to think “big picture,” “dream a little,” and so we feel paralyzed because we are not quite sure just where to go next.

But after saying all of this, most of the time our failure to execute is just that – a failure to execute.  We know the next action, we just don’t actually do the next action.

From the Navy SEALs book again:

“the vast majority of the time, you know what you should do.”

Yes, you/we do.

So, here is your assignment.  Plan your next action(s).  Then, do your next next action(s).

So, let’s do it already.



Once you Decide and Plan — It’s All About Execution

Yes, plans can be tough to make.  Planning done right is hard work, and a failure to plan leads to ongoing failure down the road.  But most business failure has more to do with a failure to execute than it does with a failure to plan.

This message was stated clearly in the Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan book:  Execution:  The Discipline of Getting Things Done.  They wrote:  “Many people regard execution as detail work that’s beneath the dignity of a business leader.  That’s wrong. To the contrary, it’s a leader’s most important work…  Putting an execution environment in place is hard, but losing it is easy…  When a company executes, its people are not victims…  When a company executes well, its people are not brought to their knees by changes in the business environment.”  Here’s their definition of execution:  Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.

A few other books have picked up and built upon the execution theme.  Notably, Six Disciplines Execution Revolution:  Solving the One Business Problem that Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier by Gary Harpst.  In this book, Harpst quotes from business guru Michael Porter:  “It’s better to have grade-B strategy and grade-A execution than the other way around.” I like Harpst’s simple reminder:  STRATEGY:  DECIDING WHAT TO DO — EXECUTION:  GETTING IT DONE. “Of the two, execution is far more difficult to achieve.”

Another volume to consider is the one by Amir Hartman,  Ruthless Execution:  What Business Leaders Do When Their Companies Hit The Wall.  He finds execution especially valuable when a company hits a tough spot:  “Ruthless execution is the method and strategies that business leaders employ to break through performance walls.”

I thought of these books in church this morning.  We had a guest preacher, the regional Bishop for the Methodist Church, Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe.  He asked a simple question:  “What is unfinished?  What unfinished business do you need to finish?”  The text was from 2 Corinthians 8:11 —  “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it.”  The subject  at hand dealt with helping those in need.  But the underlying principle was unmistakable:  finish what you start.  Finish what you plan.  Plan — then execute your plan.

So, yes, I confess that my mind drifted to these business volumes in the middle of church.  Why?  Because the truth is inescapable — for business, and for my own life.  Starting is relatively easy.  Finishing strong, finishing well… executing.  That’s where success is truly won.

{To purchase my synopses of Execution and Six Disciplines Execution Revolution, with handout + audio, go to our 15 Minute Business Book site}.