Do you have a success plan ? You might be thinking...What is a success plan ? Why do I need a success plan ? What does success mean? The definition of success is "The accomplishment of an aim or purpose” (REF: Oxford Dictionary). So in other words, success is the achievement of an objective and the objective can be anything you feel is important to you.
At a personal level, success can mean:
- saving enough money to put a deposit on a house
- completing a DIY project at home
- clearing your credit card debt
- finishing school or university or your trade course
At work, success can mean:
- the completion of a project that delivered its intent and resulting in a positive outcome for the company
- reducing or eliminating a quality problem from where it was to a new agree target level
- completing some professional development learning
- closing an new deal that will grow the profits for the company
- developing a new innovative solution
For an entreprenour, success can mean:
- having their funding approved
- finalising the core team
- establishing external capabilities
- confirmation of distribution channel
- improving results and making a profit
How do you achieve success? For many, they believe success is achieved because of one of these following elements:
a) Hard work:
The danger with this approach is that hard work does not necessarily mean good or effective work. It is too easy to put your head down and get stuck into something but actually get nowhere. Why? Because you end up working for the sake of working, instead of working to achieve something.
Luck…If you really think that you need to be lucky to be successful then at best you have a 50/50 chance of being successful. In reality, when you factor in all of the external aspects which you have no control over, that 50% chance of success is significantly diminished.
In my opinion, the elements of hard work and luck do contribute to success but these are not the defining elements to achieve success. I believe the defining elements to achieve success are:
- Preparation: Some attention needs to be put into defining ( in realistic terms) objectives and what success means for you.
- Planing: What do you need to do in order to achieve your objectives: If you fail to plan, then you will plan to fail.
- Discipline: Plans do not deliver themselves. You will need to be committed, have routine and be focused to seeing through the actioned needed.
- Accountability: Take responsibility for your actions to make things happen.
So in other words to achieve success, you need inputs in order to achieve the desired output. For example. If you want to improve your fitness (which is an output) you need to undertake a training program ( your input )to achieve the level of fitness you want. If you were to train once every two or three months, then your likelihood of success is low. However a good success plan to achieve your fitness goal could be to dedicate 45 minutes 4 times per week.
Why have a Success Plan ?
Most things we do in life is usually based on a plan of some sort and the amazing thing about this is that many do not realise this. A plan can be:
- the way you get to work every day
- the route you take to drive to the shops depending on the day and time of day
- the itinerary you have mapped out for that next get away
- all of the things that need to be done for that upcoming big family celebration
- the dinner menu for the coming week ( which usually drives the grocery and shopping list on the weekend)
- the things which are needed to finish that garden project you are going to do on the Saturday because of the barbecue on Sunday
These are just some typically every day examples of objectives which all must have plans ( whether we realise it or not) in order for them to be completed successfully.
An interesting observation that I have made over the years, is that many people have no problem in mapping out a plan for their personal objectives out side of work, but seem to resist that need (or fundamental) in the work environment. The astonishing thing about this, is that I am not referring to novices who you can give the benefit of the doubt and say they didn’t know any better. I am referring to people who have many years of experience and unfortunately have become complacent and lazy.
Plans are important for two main reason:
- they provide the direction and path towards achieving success and delivering the objectives
- they allow you to assess the status and progress as well as the opportunity to validate that your direction and path still make sense before it is too late.
Here is a real world example to highlight my point:
I know a consumer good manufacturer that had experience double digit growth for about 8 years. They were operating in a market place with weak ( or almost non existent) competition and as a result had a good brand reputation. From my understanding the MD during this period was not a big believer of detailed planing and liked to call all of the shots, turn all of the dials and pull all of the levers himself. Projects would just happen, and launches would occur whenever they were ready, CAPEX’s were open ended and not well scoped. budgets would over run without question because cash was not a problem. I would call them “Victors of Circumstance”. What I mean by this is that they experienced victory due to the circumstance of their market. That is, it was almost a monopoly so they could do what they wanted. You could say, because of this, the concept of planing or having a success plan was non-existant and almost ridiculed. All was good until (to use a cliche) their bubble burst because over this time while they did not have a success plan, the market dynamics changed, the consumer behaviour changed, the competition improved and the brand loyalty shifted away. The company went from having an 80% market share to about 45% market share. They went from being a 9-figure ( i.e. $XXX,000,000) dollar annual revenue business ( with a healthy 12-15% EBIT to Sales Ratio ) to an 8-figure (i.e. $YY,000,000) dollar annual business ( barley breaking even). Why did this happen? There was no success plan and to some extent you could say they left it to luck and this is why I say they were victors of circumstance. Their market conditions were such for an unusually long period, that they could get away with their approach for longer than normally possible. Today, they are a shadow of their former self and will be shutting down most their operation within the next 12 months ( by the end of 2017).
This is a real world example and unfortunately for many people with that company who put in an honest day and trusted that the movers and shakers in the business were doing the right thing have been let down. Why? Because they did not have a success plan.
I have a couple of ventures I am working on. ANBA Solutions is one and I have recently started to work on another in a completely difference space. I am not doing these for the sake of doing these. I want them to be successful and therefore realise I need to have a success plan.
What is my success plan for my new venture?
Preparation: I have gone through and defined:
- my objectives,
- where I want to be, and
- what my definition of success is.
- I have drafted a business plan with strategies, objectives and targets.
Planing: I work from home and co-habitat the home office which is great because I get to spend good quality time with my young family. This includes an 11 month old. Which means every day it gets noisy, busy and hectic throughout the day. The biggest challenge, are phone calls, because the last thing I want is to be having a business call with my son wanting to come in and play or start exercising his great (and loud) tenor vocals in the background while he happily explores the home.
I am fortunate, because I have a large garden workshop and am in the process of renovating it and converting part of it into an office space. This way, when I work on my business, I can do so without distraction and do so with more purpose and focus which will no doubt allow me to be more efficient and effective with my time. In the meantime, when needed, I utilise some external locations where I can work without disruption.
Discipline: In order to have the best chance of achieving success, I allocate time 3 days per week and focus on achieving the actions defined in the plan.
Accountability: I take full accountability for my actions. I accept the responsibility to focus my effort and to be disciplined and objective in my action. I take responsibility, because this is my success plan and therefore making excuses and blaming others is unacceptable. I look for every opportunity to learn from challenges so that I can grow and develop.
The Wrap Up
Whatever success means for you whether it is related to a personal achievement, a work project or whether you are an entrepreneur and are trying to build something, having a success plan is essential. In particular, to achieve success, consideration to prepare, plan, be disciplined and accountable will put you in good stead to achieve success.
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5
What do you think?
Director - ANBA Pty Ltd
Andrew Baldacchino, applies his industry experience and world class practises in simple, logical and effective ways to help businesses and their people to develop innovative solutions and implement strategies to improve sustainability and brand value in the market place.