Planning… An Ongoing Exercise

As is typical for me on a Sunday afternoon, I found myself at the health club today getting in some exercise. In addition to the health aspect, I also find that a good run or bike ride can be great to clear the mind and bring some focus to what I am planning for the week ahead. It also makes me feel pretty good to know that I am working at taking care of myself – at least until dinner time when I use the workout to justify an extra brownie for desert!

Just as this leads me to the conclusion that exercise is an ongoing routine, so is it with business planning. With the end of the year quickly approaching it is not uncommon to be re-evaluating your plans and strategies more than you might expect. The last-minute adjustments to your sales projections, the second guessing of a marketing plan, or the new idea to reduce expenses. Whatever we map out will surely change as time passes, requiring more planning and modification.

This is a good thing really, as it keeps us looking ahead rather than behind. Sure we need to evaluate what worked and what did not – what we said we were going to do and then did not. But ultimately we need to keep focused on what we are doing next to succeed, and striving to look for how we can improve.

We have all heard how important it is to devote time to work on your business,as opposed to working in your business.This concept really does speak to the idea of planning.What external factors are impacting how you operate, how you communicate with clients, and how you will be able to adapt? What technologies could you be incorporating to make your organization more efficient? Who in your organization needs to be upgraded? Are their new systems or procedures that could be implemented?

Change is a constant – this is a concept that is well-known and I have written about it myself several times. Perhaps though, the importance of planning for how to adapt to this change is what we really need to focus on – the idea of looking forward as opposed to acknowledging something after the fact. This can be scary at times because this requires first the wisdom to know what is right to do, and then the courageto act on it – even as others suggest otherwise.

So the next time you find yourself re-thinking your plan – the one that you decided was definitely the right thing to do at the time, remember that the process of planning is just like the need to continually exercise. If we don’t do it, the results will be easy to see in the mirror!


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