Do you have a plan?

Planning is a curious pastime.

It's a little like running. I don’t particularly enjoy the task, but I like the results.

As an apparent functional psychopath, planning may not be my forte. With that said, I am a big advocate of planning and teach people all the time to prepare plans for business, adventure, life. 

But, just like any memorable battle, the plan is absolutely solid until you take the first step toward execution. Then, everything goes pear shaped.

Without a plan, life becomes a little pointless, kind of like skating around a hockey rink with a team and looking for the goal posts that don’t exist. There is no purpose.

So why do we plan?

There are three important reasons for me to plan that you might benefit from a little:

  • The act of planning is a rehearsal that serves you well. Many years ago, my wife and I purchased our first business in Canada. The business was a printing company based in Canmore.
  • We diligently wrote our business plan, outlined our goals, walked in to the bank and out with a loan and off we went. We never picked up the plan again until we sold the company.
  • At that time we pulled out the plan and read it and were both shocked to see what we had accomplished without reference to the plan.
  • The act of planning firms up the process in your mind and gets you focused on the goal post.
  • While planning may seem like a static exercise, part of the plan involves looking for escape routes. Strategies to minimize damage when the plan does not work out.
  • In other words it helps you practise for recovery from an unexpected situation. With the adventures that I do, we always look at a crisis media plan… what do we do when something goes wrong.
  • The act of writing the plan makes those reactions appear natural and rehearsed. You will operate from “the gut” the minute you move in to execution because you have invested planning time in to your project.
  • My favourite is that the plan allows you operate on cruise control. Admit it, at least quietly, more than a couple of you have probably driven to work on your day off! And I bet many of you could not recount detailed travel reports for that possible 20-minute drive. Why is that? The reason is quite simple.
  • We have created a habit that our inner mind can benefit from and so driving becomes quite routine. In fact, as we have just explored, large portions of time can eerily disappear as our brain puts driving on cruise control.
  • A business plan does the same thing. It programs our mind for success. We don’t start anything to fail, and our brain knows that and so you will find that your brain will actually open doors and make decisions for you because you trained it with the creation of the plan.
    There you have it, three reasons why I plan even though I may not enjoy the task.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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