Last week I was talking here about “Looking back and Noticing”. I asked that you take a few minutes and reflect on the past 8 months. What is your vision and what are your goals and plans that you have and what actually has happened, what were you able to accomplish?
What I had assumed was, that you actually do have visions, goals and plans, but what if you don’t? Or what if you don’t think it’s worth your time and effort? What if you think you are too busy to make written goals and plans?
Let Lewis Carroll tell you:
If you don’t know where you’re going,
any road will take you there.
On first sight, this sounds positive, “any road will take you there”, it seems you can’t go wrong.
But wait a minute, think again, where is the road taking you? It takes you nowhere!
Without a goal it’s like driving a car without a destination, you are just driving, wasting gas. Without a goal for your business you might waste your energy and a lot of time only to get …. nowhere, and stuck there.
And then there is what Lucius Annaeus Seneca would tell you:
If one does not know to which port one is sailing,
no wind is favorable.
Lewis Carroll would probably have said it his way: “if you don’t know where you’re going, no road is favorable”,
If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there but no road is favorable. You are just aimlessly driving in your car, you are adrift in your sail boat, you are very busy in your business, but without a destination, which road to take or what wind blows, is completely irrelevant.
Besides the point that you end up nowhere, it also means that
- you have no strategy and therefore feel overwhelmed
- you can’t measure your progress because you have no goal
- you can’t reflect and contemplate what plans worked out and which ones didn’t
- you can’t achieve any objectives because you don’t have any
- you can’t measure anything so you can’t know what works and what needs to be improved
- you can’t celebrate achieving goals, plans and objectives
- you’re very busy but lost
So where do we start?
You start with a Vision
You might have a vision, maybe you even wrote it down, which would be really good. If you don’t have a vision, a good way to create one is with Cameron Herold’s “The Vivid Vision” from his book Double Double. You can download the first chapter of this book for free and get to work right away. I did that and created my Vivid Vision, I found it to be a very good exercise.
Now in order for this Vision to really be helpful, you need to create a strategy that helps you achieve this vision. Next you develop an action plan with activities, goals, objective and metrics. Finally, you need to execute this plan. Most people stop here, but I say, the most important part of this whole process is then to measure the results!
If we don’t measure our progress, we can’t manage or grow it, we can’t improve it. Also, all that work to create your vision, strategy, action plan and implementation might be a waste of time. We will get frustrated and disenchanted and I think that is the last thing we want to be when it comes to our own business.
Peter Drucker said
What gets measured gets improved
Remember my post from a few weeks ago “A health check that could save your business” which was measuring Sales? I stated that tracking your Sales gets you to know your business better, which in turn puts you in the driver seat and in control of your business.
You can track Sales without a goal (budget) and still get a lot of value out of it. By looking at the past, by comparing your Sales from this month and year to Sales of previous months and/or years it gives you a good idea of where you are standing (You can – and really should – do the same with your expenses).
BUT, and here comes the big but, without a vision and a goal these results don’t tell you if you are on the right path, if the wind is favorable, because you don’t know where you are going.
This brings me to another quote (the last one for today, I promise)
Planning is bringing the future into the present
so that you can do something about it now
by Alan Lakein
So what I’d love for you to take away is to be inspired to create a vision for your business. Whether you do this with Cameron Herold’s “The Vivid Vision” or in another way does not matter. What matters is that you do it. Don’t overthink it and don’t make this complicated, as always, done is better than perfect.
Next time I will talk about how we create a strategy with an action plan that supports the vision, and eventually we will create a budget and start measuring our results.
Who is with me?