By Stan Granberg
Within our Kairos Church Planting network we say this, "Vision brings hope and a Plan brings confidence." This is a memorable way to recognize that we need to know where we headed and how we're going to get there.
We also say, "If it's in your head it's a dream; if it's on paper it's a plan." The power of putting something down on paper (yeah, that's figurative, as I'm writing this on my iPad) is amazing. More things will actually get done when we see it written then when they just rattle around in our minds.
If making a plan and writing it down are so powerful why is it that so many of us don't do it? My answer is we often overthink planning. We think planning means spending days agonizing over the issues, researching all possible answers, and preparing that way too long, no one will ever read it, doorstop of a plan. If that's what it takes--count me out! I can't do that kind of planning. Let's leave that to the Pentagon.
Instead I use this very simple 5 question planning process:
What needs to happen to move the ball down the field? There are always many things that beg to be done. This question helps us clarify what will actually help us do what needs to be done.
Why do I think this goal will move the ball? Answering the why question raises our confidence that we're putting our energies into something that will actually help us make progress.
What is the measurable outcome I'm trying to achieve? If your outcome isn't measurable how in the world will you know when you've accomplished it and how well it was done? By having a measurable outcome you'll know it when it happens. (Oh, and this makes celebrating the victory so much more satisfying).
What actions will get me there? By creating an action list you take the big, overwhelming thing and break it down into pieces you can handle. It's the answer to the old African question. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"
What's the logical sequence for those actions? Now you sequence those actions into the logical order that you can put into your work calendar. Now you know not only what you need to do but when you have to have it done by. For about half of us (yeah, us iNtuitives and Perceivers in the Myers-Briggs or Influencers in the DiSC) it gives us that deadline we often need to get us going.
Most of the time, even for long term, complex processes, you should be able to put all this on one sheet of paper. Do that and you've got a pretty simple but darn good plan.
Remember even an idiot with a plan is more likely to succeed than a genius without one.
Good luck. Why don't you sit down and make a plan right now. if it fits on one page (one side only) send it to me. I'll love seeing what you're working on.