When you finally put your goals in writing, a step-by-step action plan should be in place for each goal.
Ask yourself, “What precisely has to happen? In what order? By whom? When?” It’s the only way to ensure the goal gets hit.
I compare this to planning a dinner party. Think about all of the little things that have to happen when you host the dinner party: inviting guests, determining the seating arrangement, figuring out in advance if anyone has allergies, planning the menu, chopping the ingredients, setting the table, serving wine, plating the food. If you’ve ever hosted a dinner party, you know that not all of these tasks can happen simultaneously, and it takes planning in order to figure out which are the high priority tasks that need to get done first so others can be completed later.
When you’re ensuring that a step-by-step action plan is in place for every project before it gets started, ensure that you include each of the critical components that need to get done to hit the goal. Put all of the action steps in chronological sequence so that you can see the logical “work back” plan. This is what I call “reverse engineering”—starting with a vision in mind, and then working backwards to make the vision a reality.
Ensure that each step you outline has the following questions attached to it:
· Who is doing it?
· When will it be done?
· What is the cost?
· What other business areas are involved (and do they know you need them?)
· Will a check-in with a supervisor or subordinate be needed?