I’ve been helping practice owners create better business plans for a while now, but there was a time when I did it very differently from how I do it today, and it all changed because of one particular event.
It was February 2018, Sydney Park Pavillion, and the day has gone from a potential disaster to somehow a success.
For starters, I’m packed full of paracetamol and nurofen to bring down the fever that has kept me in bed for the past four days. It was far too late to cancel the workshop that had been in the planning for months – too many flights already booked, too many hotel rooms paid for – but I’m well enough, as long as I keep the dosage up.
Arriving at the venue, I walk inside alone and notice my first problem. The venue has no A/V system.
I call Rach, who I know can fix it, walking outside into the cool breeze to talk, leaving all the equipment I’ve brought and the keys to the venue behind me.
As we start talking, I hear a click behind me and the door slams shut, locking me out.
We delay the start of the workshop for an hour (discovering by complete accident that a 10 am start is actually much better anyway), hire some AV, and somehow we’re back on track.
My planned session goes well. Based on the outstanding book The One Thing by Gary Keller, we dive into the myths of multitasking, and why split focus rarely gets the same result as a singular one. We’re flying and the room is buzzing.
The afternoon arrives and we get to the part of the day where we reset plans for the coming 90 days. But there’s a problem.
I look down at the worksheet I’ve used for the past three years. The one where I ask every business in the room to choose three projects they’ll work on over the next quarter, and I realise that everyone in the room is thinking what I’m thinking.
“This isn’t going to work anymore, is it”, I say to everyone.
Twenty-nine heads shake back at me.
“Ok then”, I say. “Choose one project. The most important one. The one that will make everything else easier. Focus on that, then once you’ve completed that, and only once it’s complete, move onto the next one…. but if you only do one project, do it well”
That was one of the greatest insights I’ve ever had about 12-Month planning. It happened totally spontaneously and it changed my whole approach.
Domino Projects are lined up in order, ideally so earlier projects provide knock-on effects that make later ones easier.