Strategic Business Planning – is it something you Endure or Embrace?

Do you embrace and enjoy this time of year when many business owners are looking forward to new opportunities ahead, putting the finishing touches to their exciting plans – for growth, innovation, leadership, or other outcomes?

Or, do you enjoy the excitement of new ideas but have trouble converting them into plans that lead you to what you really want? Or, do you dismiss it all as hype and wait for things to get back to ‘normal’?

Most likely you’ve heard the old saying “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” It’s a modern restating of one of Benjamin Franklin’s quotes “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – combined with Winston Churchill’s “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” How do you feel when you hear this statement, or say it to yourself?

Three common responses that are NOT helpful are:

  1. resistance to the whole idea of planning: ‘I cant be bothered, its too heavy-handed, restrictive. I don’t relate to this, its only for others, I’ll just go with the flow …..  you probably postpone or avoid planning altogether
  2. compliance ‘well I’d better get on with it then, otherwise I’ll be left behind or miss out, so tell me what I have to do, please’ resulting in short-term engagement, some frantic ‘box-ticking’ in anticipation of a quick ‘win’, leading to disappointment, lack of follow through and plans collecting dust on a forgotten shelf
  3. obsession – a strong urge to ‘grab that bull by the horns’, jump in and specify everything, wanting to predict and provide controls, for every potential outcome ‘I have to , I must, I should, If its to be its up to me, etc’ – leading to frustration, stress and panic when the unexpected happens, which it generally does

Do you recognise your own default response here?

  • Each of these is fundamentally triggered by fear. It could be a fear of failure or of losing control, being disapproved of, missing out, looking stupid or ending up with nothing.
  • These common fears are the ‘party-poopers’ of an otherwise healthy, happy and prosperous business.
  • If left unaddressed, they can sabotage your planning efforts altogether and derail your leadership journey!
  • These fears may even deny you the opportunity of using planning in more conscious way, as a wonderful tool and support to your business.

The Conscious Planning mindset and process that I teach comes from a perspective where we see ourselves as already worthwhile, with nothing that we have to prove to anyone else. We are creative and resourceful, with a desire to express and share our gifts, make the world a better place.We can create an empire if we wish or simply grow a business or career that creates the platform we need, to support and fund a lifestyle we thrive in. Planning can provide structure to our vision, energise our creativity and deliver us with the information we need, to get to where we wish to be.

From this perspective, the development and execution of a plan is approached as an inspired dialogue with reality. We view each initiative, project or campaign as an experiment, and we monitor outcomes wisely. If results don’t line up with our expectations we treat it as ‘feedback’, contributing to our learning, an opportunity for innovation and/or corrective action, rather than a perceived ‘failure’ which – if left to its own devices – can lead to excessive rumination, defensiveness and potential degradation of relationships.

From a Conscious Planning perspective, the Franklin/Churchill wisdom makes more sense, as it becomes a reminder to ground your ideas by making them clear and quantifiable and systematically testing them, so that you can implement and learn from them. From this place, we expect the unexpected and remain curious, open.

Does operating from that place of calm curiosity and putting ideas into action sound more appealing that being in a place of resistance, anxiety and fear about your goals?

Then Contact us to refine your AIM for Brilliant Results, with the “Keys to Conscious Planning”.

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High impact conversations that transform people and companies. Sue loves working with leaders on a mission, to untap their full potential. Her specialties include entrepreneurship, leadership, integration, transformation, and growth.


Phone: (02) 8860 6540
Level 5, 4 Columbia Court,
Baulkham Hills 2153 Sydney, Australia