Do you ever find yourself avoiding planning?
Maybe you had a bad experience - you planned and you planned and then absolutely nothing went according to plan and you thought, why bother? Or maybe you think it takes up too much time? Or maybe you just don't know where to begin?
If you find yourself struggling with planning then you will not want to miss Episode 22 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast where I share the top five mistakes I consistently see entrepreneurs making when it comes to planning which leads to wasted time and actually keeps them from achieving their goals.
In this episode, I discuss:
- Signs you are focusing on the wrong things when planning
- The #1 thing that causes people to abandon planning
- How to get out of the weeds and plan to delegate
- Knowing when to pivot your plans
- The missing piece you need to get results
Tune into Episode 22 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast or keep reading below.
Planning Mistake #1 – Focusing on the Tactics Without Getting Clear on the Strategy
This one is for all of you who are masters at getting sh*t done! While this skill is a great thing, it can also lead to overwork and slow results if you don't take the time to define a clear strategy before you roll up your sleeves and step into action.
Here are some key signs that you may be focusing on the tactics without 1st getting clear on your strategy:
- You work really hard and are probably always super busy
- You get a lot done (go you!) but you are not getting the desired results/outcomes - either at all, or as quickly as you would like
- You can get easily distracted by bright shiny objects (without a clear strategy for where you are going, that new course, tool, or app can sound like something you need to jump on IMMEDIATELY)
If this sounds like you, then what you want to do instead is to start with strategy first, and then make sure your tactics align with that strategy.
This helps you to ensure that the actions you are taking are directionally correct and as direct a path to results as possible.
This all starts with understanding your CONTEXT, which is the first pillar of the Lean Out Method. Context is comprised of having a clear vision, short-term goals, and ensuring your business model aligns with the long-term vision you have for your business and your personal life.
"Ensure that the actions you are taking are directionally correct." - Crista Grasso Click To Tweet
Planning Mistake #2 – Preplanning Too Much Detail Too Far in Advance
One of the number one reasons that people abandon planning altogether or are inconsistent with it? They try to plan too much detail too far in advance.
The reality is that the more you define your plan in advance, the more likely things are to change, which can cause frustration and lead you to wonder why you wasted your time planning in the first place.
There is a simple solution that allows you to do the planning you need to achieve your goals but without wasting time and feeling frustrated when things change, and that is to plan "just in time".
There is a time and a place for planning. The further out something is, the higher level the planning needs to be; the closer it is, the more detailed you need to be. You do not want to over invest in too much detail because the more you plan in advance, the more you are introducing waste.
Planning just in time helps you avoid waste and remain adaptive.
90 days out – look holistically at your schedule. What are the projects and marketing campaigns you need to focus on, what are client commitments you have and how are you going to meet them?
30 days out – this can still be aa higher level view, think about things like content calendars that take the whole month into perspective
7 days out – you want to plan your week on the first day of the new week or the last day of the previous week
1 day out – you want to plan the details of your day as close to the actual day as possible, so maybe this is something you do the evening before or the morning of the actual day
"Planning just in time helps you avoid waste and remain adaptive." - Crista Grasso Click To Tweet
Planning Mistake #3 – Focusing Too Much on the 'How' Instead of the 'What' & 'Why'
Ever feel like you are stuck in the weeds in your business or like you are working way too hard to get through your to-do list? This can be caused by being too focused on how you are going to do something without first getting clear on what outcome you are trying to achieve and why it is important for your business.
When you have crystal clarity on 'what' and 'why', you can be flexible with the 'how' which opens you up for finding faster and more efficient ways of doing things, or finding solutions you may not have otherwise considered.
And if you have a team, be careful that you do not stifle your team members’ unique zones of genius. You hired incredible people for a reason, hopefully one of those reasons is that their unique zone of genius is different than yours. Give your trusted team members the what and why and let them determine the how; they will be more excited and rewarded in the work they are doing and you will have more time in your day.
If this is something you struggle with, remember this: outcomes are more important than actions.
"The outcomes are more important than the actions." - Crista Grasso Click To Tweet
Planning Mistake #4 – Being Stubbornly Tied to the Plan
Following through on what you say you are going to do is important. It is a great rule to live by when making commitments or building relationships... but it does not always serve us when we are planning for our businesses and it really does not serve us if we are only checking off boxes for the sake of checking off boxes or because our ego is getting in the way.
Beware of the urge to stay stubbornly tied to your plan simply because it's something you said you were going to do. Success is not about the number of boxes you check off; it is about the outcomes you achieve.
Learn to recognize when something is no longer working or in alignment so you can avoid wasting time, money or energy on something that is no longer needed. Also learn to recognize when an outcome can be achieved in a simpler way so you avoid overcomplicating things.
The fourth pillar of the Lean Out Method is Kaizen, which is the practice of making small continuous improvements and making changes for the better. Leverage this practice to consistently be reflecting and identifying the simplest and most effective way of reaching your goals, without being stubbornly tied to your plan of how you are doing so.
"Success isn't determined by how many boxes you check. It's all about the outcomes you achieve." - Crista Grasso Click To Tweet
Planning Mistake #5 – Spending All of Your Time Planning Instead of Implementing
I find that people fall into three main strengths: strategy, execution, and process.
If you fall into the process category you might find yourself dealing more with planning mistake number five than the others. If this is you, it is really important that you remember that in reality it is not about the planning, but what you do with the plan.
We love creating beautiful plans as much as the next person but you have to implement the plan. It doesn’t matter how great your plan is or how pretty your planner looks at the end of the day, if you aren’t actually implementing it. There is no point in planning if you aren't taking action on it.
"There is no point in planning if you are not taking action on it." - Crista Grasso Click To Tweet
To avoid making these 5 all-too-common planning mistakes:
- Get really clear on your strategy before you dive into the tactics when planning
- Plan your details "just in time" and avoid preplanning too much detail too far in advance
- Get crystal clear on the 'what' and 'why' and remain flexible with the 'how'
- Continuously adapt your plans for the best results and avoid doing something simply because you said you were going to
- Be sure you are actually implementing your plans!
Ready to Create Your Plan?
By avoiding these 5 planning mistakes, you should be able to consistently create lean strategic plans that help you achieve amazing results in your business without having to spend all your time planning.
I'd love to hear - what changes are you going to introduce into your planning process?
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast.