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How I Approach Business Planning (Part 3)

You made it to Part 3 of this three-part series of blogs, where I’m going to cover possibly the most important part of this whole process; turning the plan into results.

Again, if you joined me for the live training, this will be a recap.

If you missed it but would like to catch up, you may be able to still access the recordings by joining our success.audere.com.au community, but you will need to get your skates on access closes to everyone but existing community members.

With that said, let me take you through a proven methodology I’ve honed over the past seven years for crafting a robust one-page business plan tailored to your firm’s needs for the coming year.

Plan ≄ Results

I talked about this in Part 2, but it’s important enough to reiterate.

As recently as December last year, I saw it communicated: the idea that the difference between successful practices and everyone else is the former had a business plan.

It’s not that simple. It’s like saying that the difference between pro golfers and everyone else is expensive equipment.

The process of creating a business plan has benefits way beyond having a tangible document, but it’s not “having” one that is the key factor.

Akrasia Effect

I have James Clear to thank for introducing me to the Akrasia Effect, and he has the Ancient Greeks.

It’s a fascinating concept that perfectly explains why we often act against our own better judgment and engage in self-defeating behaviour.

When we’re creating our plan, we’re making plans for the future. Things will plan to do tomorrow, next week, next month.

When it’s time to roll up the sleeves though a different mindset takes over. We’re faced with the present moment, immediate rewards take over our thinking.

We’ve all experienced procrastination at some point, right?

It’s one of the most visible symptoms of Akrasia. We put off important tasks and instead indulge in short-term dopamine hits.

At its core, Akrasia represents the gap between our intentions and our actions. It’s why the plan isn’t enough.

Overcoming Akrasia

Akrasia nicely explains why often even the best-developed plans don’t translate into results.

Luckily, there are strategies we can employ to combat Akrasia. Fields such as neuroscience, change management, and habit formation (and James Clear) have uncovered key tactics that I have personally tested with my clients.

Thankfully, Aristotle also conceived “Enkrateia” as the mastery over oneself to accomplish intentions through self-discipline This bridges the intention-action gap.

There are 3 proven techniques to counter Akrasia:

  • Pre-commit via implementation intentions not just what Will be done, but detail the When, Where And How to deny optionality
  • Automate initiation triggers and progression through forced time boxing, notifications and visual sprints to ease start hurdles
  • Magnify completion pleasure & consequences through both public accountability and cascading rewards
Sprinting

Breaking down a 12-month business plan into smaller, quarterly or monthly plans is an approach, often referred to as “chunking”, and has been found to increase focus, reduce stress, and improve overall productivity.

One study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that individuals who broke down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps were better able to complete the task and reported lower levels of stress.

Another published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that individuals who broke down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps were better able to complete the task and reported lower levels of stress.

Many celebrated business thinkers have also publicly spoken about their use of this approach, including Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.

Dividing that plan into smaller pieces is the cheat code to be able to better track progress, celebrate successes, and adjust plans as needed to close the implementation gap.

Journaling

We also developed a brand-new tool for 2024 to support it all, called The Good Year Journal.

I sent a copy to all my current clients just after Xmas, and there’s a free e-version available to download for members of our success.audere.com.au community.

If you’re neither of those and want to buy one, you do so via Amazon here.

So, what is the Good Year Journal?

Simply, it’s the tool that helps turn plans into results, track your performance and make working on your business easier.

If you’ve ever done journaling, you may already know the benefits of documenting your insights and achievements. The Good Year Journal is about applying the same concepts to pre-planning actions, tracking metrics and reviewing performance.

If you have a team, this is also a great way to encourage high performance, as we’ve rolled this out to larger businesses (30+ employees) and found it works particularly well.

How is it used?

The Good Year Journal method is closely aligned with the strategic planning and implementation method I’m covering in the Planning to Perform course we’re just about to start.

  1. Define 3-5 Year Strategic Vision
  2. Create a 12-month Business Plan (one-page, clear & measurable targets & Domino project pipeline
  3. Adopt a system for tracking the right metrics and monitoring progress in 3 x 12-week “Sprints”

The Journal is a tangible, actual physical journal in which you will:

  • Plan out what you will do during each 12-week implementation period,
  • Track your key metrics week-by-week, and
  • Review performance each week so you have a complete record of what went well and what needs improvement.

I guarantee that if you use this tool, you will remove any gap that exists between your plan for the year and the result you achieve.

Peer Accountability

The final one I want to share is understandably the one that busy practice most easily ignores.

It’s also one of the most effective.

Research has shown time and time again that engaging with peers who share similar goals and objectives is a major ingredient to help practice owners drive progress and achieve greater success more easily.

(How good is that combination of words – achieve greater success more easily).

It’s important to note that success – whatever your version of that – is influenced by many other factors, including talent, hard work, opportunity and determination.  However, in most cases, peer groups have been proven to be a serious tool for achieving greater success sooner.

However, let me again pull out the evidence.

One study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that individuals who worked out in a group setting had greater levels of physical activity and adherence to exercise than those who worked out alone.  The study concluded that social support and accountability played a role in increasing motivation and helping individuals stick to their goals.

Another study published in the International Journal of Business and Management found peer support and collaboration can be highly beneficial for entrepreneurs in particular, as the act of giving and receiving feedback, advice, and the exchange of ideas frequently assisted in overcoming challenges associated with growing their businesses faster.

Some common barriers stop business owners from leveraging peer engagement as a growth tool, which you can read about here.

For those who see the benefit of peer engagement, it’s mostly about finding a peer group with similar attributes, goals, and objectives, who have or are facing similar challenges (and I’d suggest checking out whether the success.audere.com.au community could play this role for you)

For those who haven’t seen peer engagement as a growth and development tool or have chosen not to utilise it, sometimes it’s about challenging whether your perception of them as lacking benefit or not worth investing time in is based on perception or experience.

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