I believe goals are best set annually and planning is best done every 90 days. So much happens in a ‘normal’ year in our busy lives it is usually best to review and make plans in smaller 90-day segments. Pre-Covid-19, most of the adjustments you needed to make to your plans, each quarter or each month, were relatively simple to ensure that you stayed on track to achieve or go close to achieving your goals.
AND THEN 2020 COMES ALONG.
Mike Tyson, the champion boxer, once said, “A plan is great until you get punched in the face.” We have all been punched in the face by Covid-19. You have quite likely lost sight of any plans and even the goals you set early in the year.
All of us have had our whole lives, and businesses, turned upside down over the past 3 months. Even those whose businesses are busier because of Covid-19, e.g. accountants, have had to change focus quite dramatically.
Annual goals, 90-day plans, daily routines, all of it, have had to change due to this invisible invader. Many people have had to shut down businesses. Some are financially stressed like never before. Most of us have had to endure restrictions to movement and social behaviour. Working from home and video conferencing have become normalised. We’ve just had Mother’s Day with mum on video call. A lot has changed.
How do we regroup?
As we begin to tentatively make steps to re-open our society and economy, what do we need to do to regroup? Where do we begin?
I can tell you it is best NOT TO BEGIN with plans; probably not with your annual goals; and maybe not even with your bigger picture 3-5-10 year vision. For some, everything has changed dramatically in 3 short months. Nothing looks the same as it did in January.
7 Steps to help you regroup after all your plans have been dashed
- Revisit your purpose. Refresh your why. Remind yourself why you are in business. This will help you tap into your passion and what drives you. If you are struggling to reconnect with passion and purpose, then you need to rethink a lot more than goals and plans. Get this sorted with your business mentor as your most urgent priority.
- Reassess. What has changed for you and your business? Do a SWOT analysis and think through your position. Some things are going to be different as we re-emerge from isolation. This will include some of the surprising positives that have emerged from the isolation experience. E.g. Video calls are often more efficient for conducting business meetings in terms of travel time, but also people are more business like on video calls.
- Refresh your vision. Where do you want to be in 3-5 or perhaps 10 years? Purpose and vision must be your guide, not just fixing the current problems. Get your eyes on the bigger picture, renew that perspective in your life and then start to do the detailed work.
- Analyse. Make a detailed assessment of your current position. Financially where do you stand? How are your team going? Are any goals no longer relevant? Make sure you cast your eye over your whole business and note significant changes.
- Set new goals. Try to see what progress you can realistically make in 2020. This will be a rather tentative exercise, as the virus is not done yet. Restrictions are being lifted slowly.
- Start to plan. I suggest you start by doing the steps set out above, and then create a 30-day plan to the end of June. Towards the end of June revise what you have learned and factor it in to create a Q3 90-day plan.
- Review regularly. Build in weekly and monthly review points and markers to help you get a sense of progress. You may have to relearn some aspects of your business in a post-Covid-19 world. Do not assume everything will go back to how it was. Much has shifted in the collective mindset of the nation and the world. Be ready to dance and be flexible and agile like never before.
The value of an effective planning process
Some may say why bother planning at all? If it is going to be so uncertain why not just take it how it comes? For me, I know I am much more agile and decisive if I know what I want and where I am headed. Purpose, Vision and Goals are less flexible. (Although as indicated above should be reviewed after major events like Covid-19). Plans should always be flexible. They are a means to an end. They are not sacrosanct. They are my best educated and thoughtful guess as to what it will take this week, and this month, and this quarter to move towards my goals and fulfill my purpose.
You have been punched in the face by Covid-19. So has everyone. How you regroup will determine whether this is a boost to your life and business or a disaster. It’s up to you.
The 7 steps listed above are helping me to regroup and reset my life and business.
I hope they are useful to you as well.
If you would like to learn an effective 90-day Planning Process please register for my upcoming online workshop.
The post-Covid-19 world will feel less certain than ever. An effective planning process will help you take back control of your business and your life. We all require some level of certainty for our own sense of well-being and mental health.
Wishing you well as we all venture into the uncertainty of the post Covid-19 world.