Plan for Success


As I prepare to teach the opening workshop,  Leadership and Strategic Thinking, at the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute this week, I look forward to the breakthroughs that I invariably will witness from the students.

I’ve been teaching versions of this workshop for a number of years. And I don’t just teach and facilitate strategic planning:  I believe in it and I practice it myself.  Every goal that I’ve written down, shared and on my own, from personal goals (e.g., giving birth to my son Noah) to career and business goals, I’ve achieved.

Not that the act of planning makes the path any easier:  there are always struggles and setbacks.  At times, the plan’s timing is out of your control, and/or you may be paralyzed by fear, self-doubt, or worse.  However, with plan in hand, I see the rockiness of the path as a series of tests of my commitment to my created path. Particularly where no path exists, and I bush-whack through the wilderness, living the journey as Frost articulated:  it has made all the difference in my well-lived life and career.  And then I begin to understand why some of the most successful businesses of the 20th century started with just such an idea during the Great Depression.

Even more satisfying is watching the students (up-and-coming promotable leaders:  managers in larger organizations and well as entrepreneurs / business owners) solidify their plans, dreams and goals by writing them down and then mustering the courage to walk through their deceptive fear of failure to share those plans with their classmates and hopefully those key individuals outside the class who can become part of the team to implement those plans.  The act of manifesting (writing down) your goals and plans, and then sharing those goals and plans with trusted colleagues and advisors, is a powerful act indeed.

Don’t underestimate the creative power of this planning process.  Once the wheels are set in motion, amazing things can and will happen to you.  Some examples from my past students are:

  • Becoming a judge;
  • Promotion to your dream job (FYI:  most of the time, you just need to present your proposal and ask);
  • Starting your own successful business;
  • Defining your own work / life balance rather than expecting your employer to do it for you;
  • Getting the education / degree you’ve always dreamed of, but never shared with anyone.

Create your plan and write it down:  start with at least one goal.  Share it with your own Board of Directors.  Build your commitment; never, never, never, never give in.  Implement your plan.  And don’t be surprised:  expect success.

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