You may well ask yourself – What do tomato plants and your plans have in common?
If you’ve ever gardened, you know the excitement in Spring when you head off to the local garden center and buy those little boxes of tiny tomato plants. You have images of fresh tomato sandwiches floating in your head.
When you arrive home you plant those little plants 3 or 4 inches apart despite the growers’ instructions that clearly state tomato plants need space and should be planted 18 inches apart. The result, your tomato plants don’t have space to take root and flourish. They grow tall and spindly. They get entangled in each other, some die completely, and others don’t yield much fruit.
Stay with me here, there is a planning model coming to life …. 😊
When we develop our plans, we get all excited about the possibilities. We have images of new ventures and great successes. That excitement inspires us to plan too many initiatives and start too many activities too close together. We plan to start everything in the first quarter of the year.
Then, we get busy with clients, business issues and the day-to-days of running a business and having a life. We look at all the things we said we wanted to get done and we get overwhelmed, we don’t know where to start, and so little or nothing gets done.
So, what is the lesson here?
There are four quarters in every year. You don’t have to do, or even start, everything in the first quarter. So how do you spread the activities and still achieve what you set out to achieve this year?
Go back to your plans and reassess – based on workload and resources how can you spread the initiatives and activities across all four quarters of the year? What are the things that must be started in this quarter and what are the things that must be completed in this quarter if your overall plans are to succeed? We call these your Critical Success Factors.
So now what?
Now you know what you need to focus on this quarter. Break it down further to what you need to focus on in the next month. Decide what you need to do to get these things done. Delegate what you can and block appropriate time in your calendar to do what you must get done.
Like gardening, planning is fun and exciting. And, the work starts once the planning is done. But you will give yourself and your plans a better chance to grow and flourish if you take the advice of the experts and spread your activities across a reasonable time frame so that everything can grow and flourish.
The successful execution of your plans is where your rewards will come. Here are ten more actions you can take to help successfully execute your plans.