“People don’t plan to fail; they just fail to plan,” is a saying common to many leadership courses.
This isn’t a clever statement that makes you sound smart whenever you quote it, but rather is an accurate assessment of just how little time people in leadership roles allocate to planning. Sure, every director worth their weight will burn the midnight oil in order to lay out that new, big project; but the best directors don’t just sit back and supervise after the presentation. The best leaders are in a continual state of planning, and according to Stephen Boswell, President of the Oechsli Institute and author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors, and Kevin Nichols, Chief Operating Officer of the Oechsli Institute and author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors, you should spend ten to twenty minutes every day purely in planning.
If you put yourself on auto-pilot and simply check up on your team’s progress, you are largely missing the point of effective leadership. In the present age of real-time information streaming to handheld devices, managers can no longer afford to wait weeks or even days for an analysis of their business. Instead, they should set aside time every day in order to do a quick review of their battle plans. According to Boswell and Nichols, there a several key points that management needs to focus on:
Identify the single most important task that MUST be completed that day. In military terminology, this is the “Objective,” and almost everything else is executed in support of this goal. If you consistently identify and put your efforts towards achieving an objective every day, you will experience profound development in your team and overall business.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will do your planning AT a meeting; but instead foster the mentality that you will always plan FOR each meeting. Bear in mind that the term “meeting” isn’t exclusive to wood-paneled board rooms filled with C-level executives, but can be equally applicable to having lunch with potential clients. If you go into any meeting without a plan, you should never be surprised if nothing is gained from it.
If you are looking for some other great pieces of advice on how to develop daily plans, check out this article by Boswell and Nichols:
Ask Yourself 5 Questions Each Morning for Ultimate Productivity | Wealth Management