Dwight Eisenhower said “In preparing for battle I’ve always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
What do you suppose Dwight meant when he said that? Planning is indispensable, but plans are useless. Let’s think about that a little bit. Here’s what happens. When you have a goal and you set a plan to get from here to that goal, you automatically engage the problem solving and visualization parts of your brain. you start to seeing the thing you want coming true. you can picture it in your head. Even if the plan doesn’t work out exactly the way you want, even if there are obstacles and problems and mishaps along the way, the problem solving part of your brain will automatically adjust and get you to the goal.
That’s why setting a goal makes it far more likely that you’ll hit the goal. Having a plan gives you that much more flexibility and that much more creativity when you run into problems. Because you’ll always run into problems when you’re trying to get something done. Sometimes the problems are small, and sometimes they’re big. Either way, when you have a goal and a plan, you can problem solve your way to that goal just about every time. The definition of the word planning “Defining a set of actions as a strategy to achieve specific goals.” That’s what we’re going to talk about in this chapter. Your goal is the What. Your plan is the How.
How do you decide what are the best actions you can use as a strategy to achieve your goals? We use the One Page Plan here at Goal Boss, and our clients use the One Page Plan as well. The One page Plan is the result of boiling down of a bigger strategic plan. Below is a sample One Page Plan for reference.
What’s awesome about the one page plan is that it’s made up of five simple things. Let’s walk through those at a high level, and then dig a little bit deeper into each.
The first part of the one page plan is the vision. If your organization does not have a vision statement, you need to get one. What is a vision statement? A vision statement is your idea of what the world looks like because you and your organization exist. What does your perfect world look like? Whatever it is that you do to make the world a better place, that’s your vision statement. A vision statement is the rock on which your house is built. The why behind what you do. What is happens in your perfect world? How does that look? You need to describe that. Not just for yourself, but for your teammates and your customers.
Vision statements can and should be lofty. Reach for the stars. It’s perfectly fine if your vision of the world is perhaps a bit outside your grasp. Our vision at Goal Boss is a world where all teams are high performing teams who can accomplish anything. We know it’s not likely that all teams will get there. But that doesn’t stop us from imagining the world that way. The vision inspires us. It keeps us going when the going gets tough. Leadership is about inspiration. Reaching for things beyond our grasp is how we grow. It’s how we push ourselves and our teams forward.
Your mission statement is about how you’re going to achieve your vision. What does your organization do to realize the vision? The vision is the dream. The mission is the action. Your mission statement should be straightforward and easy to understand. It should also be easy to check up on. Here’s an example.
The mission statement here at Goal Boss is To share and implement the Goal Boss Leadership System at every opportunity. Simple. Wherever there’s a team, or a member of a team, we work to share and implement Goal Boss. We do this because it is our deeply held belief that a world where all teams are high performing teams who can accomplish anything would be a significantly better place than the world we live in today. Our mission supports our vision.
A mission statement is easy to check on. As a member of the team, do your actions support the mission? Will the things you’re doing and saying right now increase the chances that you will achieve your mission, which in turn will help your organization realize its vision. If you don’t have a mission statement, get one!
What are the values that you as an organization hold dear? What should others think of when they observe your behaviors? Where does your passion and drive come from? What behaviors do you exhibit as an organization? Pick 5 values that clearly defines who you are.
At Goal Boss, our values are Teamwork, Hard Work, Communication, Delegation and Time Management. These are our values because in our experience, people whose behavior supports these values are often high performing members of high performing teams.
Organizations with written, shared values are more likely to achieve their goals and succeed. Why? Because written values provide the entire team with a sanity check of sorts. At any moment, you can ask yourself, or a teammate, is the thing you’re doing right now aligned with one or more of our values? If so, do more of that. If not, stop doing what you’re doing and reset.
Big Five Goals
As an organization what are you going to accomplish, no matter what? What are your big goals? What are your Big 5 goals? What are your big five goals for this year? That’s what you want to show in your One page plan. What are your big five goals for this year that you’re going to accomplish, no matter what?
The Big Five Goals bring focus and purpose to everyone in the organization. They help to ground the team in a way that makes the organization’s vision, mission and values more tangible. Everyone likes to imagine a better world. Everyone likes to fantasize about how it feels to be rich and famous. To have the big house. The fancy car. The amazing vacations. The beautiful family. All you need for that is a vision. Without a mission, the vision can’t come true. Without values, the mission comes apart. Without the Big Five Goals, you run the risk of getting lost in the day to day. You need your Big Five Goals to make sure that everything you do this month, or this week, or today is moving you closer to achieving your mission.
Big Five Strategies
Strategies or just that. For each of your goals, create a simple, straightforward strategy to show how you will achieve your Big Five Goals. How are you going to get those things done? What are the big strategies that you’re going to deploy to make sure your goals happen no matter what? Strategies are practical and tactical. Heaven forbid, you didn’t know the goal. But, even if that were so, you could do the strategies without knowing the goal and that would move the organization closer to the goals. But please, make sure everyone knows the goals.
At the risk of repetition, let’s review our sample One Page Plan.
Our Vision. We Inspire high-performing teams to accomplish anything. That’s what we picture when we close our eyes here at Goal Boss and think about the world. We inspire high-performing teams to accomplish anything. There is nothing that a Goal Boss client can’t accomplish. There’s nothing you can’t accomplish now that you have this book. That’s our vision.
Our mission is to share and implement the Goal Boss Leadership System at every opportunity. If you get in the car with me, if we’re riding on a train, if we’re hanging out at a coffee house, and you don’t know I work with Goal Boss, you’re going to find out. I’m going to find out what kind of organization you run. I’m going to see if there’s opportunity for us to implement the Goal Boss System in your organization because I know that if I do that, I can inspire your high-performing team to accomplish anything. That’s our mission.
Teamwork, hard work, communication, delegation, and time management are our values. If you are working at Goal Boss whatever you do as member of the Goal Boss organization should be exemplary of one or more of our values. Teamwork, hard work, communication, delegation and time management are the behaviors we value most. Those are our core values. What’s more, if you ever see me doing something that doesn’t look like one of those things, please give me feedback about it right away. Because I would hate to think that I was exemplary of anything but the very best that my organization has to offer.
Vision, mission, values. Absolutely critical to an organization. Everything else is untethered without vision, mission, values.
The vision, mission, and values in this example are the actual vision, mission and values of Goal Boss. However, for the rest of the sample One Page Plan, I’m using an imaginary company called Joe’s screen doors. This is just a sample of information to give you an idea what kind of things you want to put in this plan.
Goal Number One for the year: Sign forty major accounts. So, here at Joe’s screen doors, we’ve got some major accounts now, we want forty more of them. Goal number two: Twenty million dollars in gross revenue. That’s goal number two for the year at Joe’s screen doors. Goal Number Three: Greater than twenty-five percent gross margin. Goal Number Four: Overtime hours, less than five percent. Goal Number Five: Five hundred thousand daily average users. Let’s imagine that Joe’s screen doors also has a mobile app, and that’s why the daily average users goal is in there.
Our Big Five Strategies are designed to help us achieve the goals, no matter what. When you write yours, try to line them up so that your strategy number one matches your goal number one, and so on. The point of your One Page Plan is that it’s simple.
Business development strategy. Supercharge communication between marketing, sales and service teams. Clearly define the sales process, key metrics, goals and action steps to signing clear ownership and reporting structured individual action plans for all account reps.
The next big strategy is focused around customer service. We’re going to integrate customer support systems with inbound marketing and business systems. We’re going to refine our customer service key metrics to identify trends. We’re going to commission independent customer satisfaction surveys and user experience testing.
Strategy Number Three is about resource management. We’re going to implement a team driven cost savings program to recognize and reward what we call ownership thinking. We’re going to conduct cost-benefit analyses of the top twenty percent and the bottom twenty percent of the expense items so that we can economize or eliminate redundant and unnecessary expenses.
Strategy Number Four is to develop our leaders. Goal Boss Leadership workshops for executives, directors and managers. We’re going to implement Goal Boss teams across the organization from the top to the bottom. We’re going to train our executives, directors and managers in one-on-one coaching so that they can coach their direct reports and get more productivity from their teams. We’re going to implement 90 day Rapid Values Onboarding for all new employees so that they can get up to speed faster, and we’re going implement 360 feedback for all executives, directors and managers.
Strategy Number Five is to generate awareness and interest in our products by creating compelling, relevant, optimized content for potential customers. We’re going to build and grow a world-class marketing automation system that serves as a force multiplier for our sales team.
The One Page Plan is a the quick summary of the big plan for the year. But even your full-blast strategic plan for the year doesn’t need to be one of those two hundred page, fancy consulting firm documents that you pay five or six figures for and then put on a shelf because it’s so big and complicated that no one can understand it.
A strategic plan should be a simple, straightforward document that anyone can understand. But the One Page Plan is literally one page. What’s more, it can sit on your desk. It can stay on your computer desktop. Everyone in the organization can see it because it’s not going to share super confidential information.
With everyone in the organization on the same page, that page being the One Page Plan, you begin to get your organization aligned. When you run into problems, and you will, remember what Eisenhower told us. Planning is indispensable.
The most important thing that the One Page Plan does is to clearly communicate to the entire organization who you are, why you’re here and what you’re doing.