Firstly, yes: a business plan is important and can help greatly, but a business plan has no hope without belief and action. Having the belief and intention of mind is what creates success, writing it down is just a reminder.
So giving yourself a clear reminder of what you want to achieve in the form of a hard copy plan that you keep close and refer to is very effective.
Some people use a plan and some don’t. I’ve seen people benefit from a plan but I’ve also seen people with no written plan do very well. Good people will still achieve without a plan but good people can become great with one.
So what’s the right approach?
The act of sitting and thinking through the business and writing it out is a powerful foundation for future success. This is a well-known fact.
The leader/principal should offer to facilitate and assist with an agent formulating the plan but I would never insist they have to do it. Its the principal’s job to make their team aware. I’m happy to help you set a business plan and then stay on track with it, but you’ve got to want to do it.
The process of doing this is simple and the real value of the principal is to be able to ask questions and get out of the agent what they really want to achieve. The principal helps the agent realise and articulate their goals. When writing out the plan the principal must make sure that the agent has ownership of the plan and it hasn’t ended up being the principal’s plan.
The process is :
- Find a space that is free from distractions and put the phones away.
- Write down a plan and ensure it all is clear and true.
- From this point, there are three tasks the principal has in helping the agent stick with the plan.
- Ask: How are you going with the plan. Ask often.
Discuss: What’s on track and whats off track
Solve: Together agent/principal, set mini-plans to solve problems. For example: I’m down on sales this month – what’s the mini-plan around prospecting that will get us back on course.
The above works well in a defined meeting, which could be monthly depending on the agent.
Essentially you are evaluating in a set meeting how the plan is going and making necessary changes and additions as required.