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Useful Tips: Learn to Plan and Plan to Learn

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Useful Tips: Learn to Plan and Plan to Learn

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you fail to plan.” But how many of us really take it seriously?  Do we even understand what planning is, why we should do it and what the value would be?

In my experience, until we understand the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) we never really do anything.  There normally needs to be a perceived benefit before we’ll generally do anything!

So let’s first take a step back and explore when we do understand planning.  Two of the best examples are: 1. A wedding; and 2. Building a house.

Most weddings are either pretty good or even great.  And even if you have been to a lousy one, it’s normally in the minority.  Weddings generally work out well because they’ve had literally months and months of planning.  Every detail has been considered and the plans get reviewed and adjusted all throughout the months before the big day.

One More Example

For the second example, consider this:

Assistant (at Builders Warehouse):    ‘Hi, this is Joe Soap how may I assist you?”

You: “Hi Joe, I’ve just thought about building a house and want to order some bricks please.”

Assistant: “Sure, how many would you like?”

You: “Well I’m not sure, how many do you need for a normal house?”

Assistant: “That depends on the house.  Have you thought about the colour yet?”

You: “Not yet so maybe give me a few in every colour you’ve got.”

This interaction seems silly, as no one would ever just start building a house.  We’d go through meticulous planning, and re-planning, before we even get to ordering the bricks.  First in our imagination, and then with an architect and, even a designer.

So let’s see how and where planning fits in:

  1. Dream
  2. Goal
  3. Plan
  4. Action

Once you have spent some time on getting clear on your dreams, the next step would be to set SMART goals.  SMART goals then need to be translated into plans so that the actions we take again feed up the line to ultimately achieving our dreams.  This would be the same for business goals and personal dreams.

The disconnect between these 4 areas normally result in things like procrastination, boredom, being overwhelmed, burnout and the like.  Once you have absolute clarity at each step, it’s easy to focus and more often than not your goals and ultimately dreams are achieved faster than initially expected.

With this understanding, I often find people wanting to then go straight into planning over a long period.  If you’re not yet good at planning your day, there is no use in trying to plan the next three years.


So to start, get some clarity on what you’d like to achieve in the next 3 years.  With that in mind, what is it you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months?  Once you’ve got the 12 months goals, break them down and work backwards to what needs to be done in the next 90 days only.  Start the planning at that level and first get good at creating a 90-day plan, like ActionCOACH’s GrowthCLUB.  This can be broken down into monthly focus areas and weekly goals, plans and actions that again connect to the 90-day goals.

Take daily action and get good at reviewing the daily plan and preparing for the next.  Then move towards working on the weekly review and planning for the week ahead, and so on.  Before long you’ll have exercised your planning ‘muscle’ and will be getting good at annual and then three-yearly planning.

Planning is a tool for achieving your dreams, and the more you work on it, and have fun with it, the more your life and business will bear the fruits.  Go for it!


ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, was established and founded in Brisbane, Australia by Brad Sugars in 1993 when the concept of business coaching was still in its infancy. Since franchising the company in 1997, ActionCOACH has grown to more than 1000 business coaching franchises operating in more than 60 countries. ActionCOACH specializes in coaching small to medium sized businesses as well as executive teams and group coaching. ActionCOACH maintains its growth and strategic alliances by continual development of cutting-edge innovative technology, proven business processes and systems to add value, satisfaction and additional income streams for its franchisees.