Failure to implement

It's 2am and I just had an idea. Another great idea. The problem is, I know I probably won't do it.

I'm a C style personality (a thinker who analyses all the angles and wants all the details sorted before taking action) with a vision to the big picture and an insatiable curiosity - that makes for interesting debates with myself about wild, creative thoughts and detailed plans. I am not, however, a natural implementer.

Have you had plans before, but failed on the implementation? (Join the club)

I am addicted to the planning phase. I love the big ideas and I'm good at stretching people's thinking about a subject. I'm good at running scenarios, pulling ideas together and formulating plans. In fact, I get so much satisfaction out of creating the plan, that once it's done, I don't need it implemented to feel satisfied. It's a queer thing. Actually, if I am honest, I think this is simply an excuse because implementation is hard.

Either way, a beautiful plan is only potential energy, and not worth the price of the paper, let alone the cost of preparing it.

This I know for sure: An okay plan, well executed and delivered has great value.  A perfect plan that never sees the light of day is a waste. 

And it is that mantra that has enabled and empowered me to push through my paralysis by analysis tendency to effective implementation.

But that’s just half of the story.  I now spend my time coaching others on strategic thinking, implementation, accountability, and communications. As a consultant, I help others face their own weaknesses whether that is poor planning or failure to implement. 

What I have observed in all my years as a facilitator, is that most plans are heavy on analysis and assessment and very light on implementation. What I mean by this is that there are targets set, but no practical plan to reach the target, no action words, no verbs.  And often, the targets that are set are not worded clearly, so that when businesses reach the point of measuring their achievement, they aren't 100% sure anymore what they are measuring against.

To compound that, when the planning session is done, whether that is a meeting, a workshop or an extravagant retreat, everyone returns to their desks, to do lists, phone messages and emails. They only revisit the plan weeks later, rereading the targets and the analysis. The action list written at the time is ambiguous, lacking clarity and devoid of a starting place. What seemed like an exciting project at the time, has now lost its attraction and drive to action it. Deflated and unsure, we feel stuck. 

Then the phone rings. With relief, we close the plan, answer the phone and get on with the work.

Familiar story? We hear it time and time again from business owners who are looking for something more than just a plan that will sit on a shelf.

Implementation is not magic. It takes commitment to the process, tenacity to keep at it, a clear understanding of what needs to be done ... and it all starts at the strategic planning process.

Are you ready to move yourself, your team or your business to the next level of discipline, execution and success?