Do You Have a Plan? Or a Wish List?

I watched the movie Trolls recently with my husband and was surprised at the bits of wisdom that were interspersed throughout. One that really got my attention was when the main male character asked the main female character what her plan was for rescuing their little community from the bad guys. After she named off a list of things, he mentioned how it sounded like a wish list instead of a plan.

Let’s take this concept and apply it to our own lives. I would venture to guess that most individuals have wish lists rather than actual plans for what they’d like to accomplish. Let’s look at your goals that you are currently working on – are they wishes or do you have an actual plan to go after them. If you have an actual plan – congratulations, you are part of the 3% that have specific goals and a plan for achieving them. I’d still keep reading if you feel you have a full plan because it may simply be a more detailed wish list.

I’d like to use an example from a recent strategy session I held with executives of an international company with whom I’ve been working. One of the main goals they decided on as a team was to hold more effective meetings. This, my friends, is not a goal, it is a wish. Why? Because it is not SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound and there isn’t a plan in place to achieve it.

Let’s look at what would make this a plan instead of a wish by identifying the what, why, and the how – first, let’s look at the what by defining exactly what an effective meeting is. In this case, it could be a meeting that is held only as long as needed to go over the topic, attended by the right individuals, and everyone leaves understanding what the next steps are and who is responsible for what. Now the why – we want to have more effective meetings to free up our time to actually do the work. And finally the how – we are going to do this by creating and implementing effective meeting guidelines.

Once we identify the what, why, and how, we can now make this goal more SMART – We will create effective meeting guidelines and implement them over the next 90 days. We don’t stop here though – then we build out a project plan with specific tasks with due dates in order to accomplish the overarching goal. For example, the first task would be to define an effective meeting, to include how to identify the individuals that should attend, what an agenda should look like, etc. Then another task could include creating the guidelines, refining them, and then there will be more tasks around implementing the guidelines and evaluating their effectiveness. I think this is why so many people don’t go past the wish stage – because it can be a lot of work to clearly define and plan out one’s goals.

So far I’ve shared an organizational goal example – how about a personal example. So many of us make “goals” to lose weight or get a promotion, or make X amount of money. Again – these are wishes unless you clearly define them in a SMART goal backed up by project plan. Not too long ago I mentioned on a podcast and in a blog that I have the goal of eventually being a multi-millionaire. If that is all that I had done, this would be considered a wish. However, behind the scenes, I have a multi-page plan for accomplishing this goal to include a number of products and services to be rolled out over the next three years, specifically defining what is going to be done and when for each of the roll outs.

You get the idea – so here is the call to action.  Take a look at your wish list and create a plan – today! I have a system coming out in the very near future to help you do just that – not only to create the plan, but also to accomplish it by maximizing your energy (which is a much more limiting resource that time.)