Believe it or not, we're halfway through the year. This means it's time to revisit your annual plans. Yes, plans. Plural.
At the very least, you should have a plan in place at the organization level and for each individual on your team. If you are a larger business, you should also have plans at the division or department level.
For each plan, it’s time to celebrate the progress you've made and recommit to the goals you may be struggling with. If you didn’t put together an annual plan at the beginning of the year, it isn’t too late. Slow down enough to plan for how you will finish the year strong.
I’m guessing many of you are thinking to yourself, "Yeah, that probably makes sense. But, now, where did I put that plan?" 🤔
Way too many agencies fail to plan. And, of those that do plan, many falter in the execution.
They get excited about the process, pull the team together, set aggressive goals, and then lay out an inspiring and detailed plan. Then, with so much hard work behind them, they go out for dinner and drinks to celebrate the hard work and the anticipated successes to come. And then they get pulled back into the daily grind and promptly forget about the plan.
What makes a good plan?
Many plans are forgotten about and aren't as effective as they could be because they aren’t properly focused. They identify the big picture goals: new business to write and retention rates to be hit. These are goals that won’t have a final measure of success until the end of the year. Because of that, they don't create any sense of urgency.
Now more than ever, it is difficult, if not impossible, to control what will happen over an entire year. The key to managing and getting the necessary impact from the plan is to break it down into short-term targets. Short-term targets that result in micro-plans that identify the work to be done this quarter, month, and week ensure you hit the big picture goals. This is what results in purposeful efforts.
For example, at Q4i, our annual plan is broken down into five key objectives: marketing, sales, service, leadership, and revenue. We then break each key goal down into action items and track and review our progress on each no less frequently than quarterly. This ensures the right work gets done.
As President Eisenhower observed, “Good planning without good working is nothing.”
Another reason so many agencies fail to plan effectively is that they keep working on it until it is "perfect." That's ridiculous!
No plan is ever perfect. Even if it is, that moment of perfection will be so brief and fleeting you won't even have time to appreciate it. The business world you are planning to dominate is in a constant state of flux, and your plan needs to remain fluid as well.
You may not be able to plan for a specific disruption, but disruptions are going to happen. By managing your plan and visiting it regularly, you'll react and adjust much more effectively.
As the great philosopher Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
Time to celebrate
There is another reason to revisit your plan regularly: To celebrate. I know you. You’re driven and have incredibly high expectations for yourself. But, unfortunately, you also don't always give yourself credit for what you accomplish and the progress you make.
By forcing yourself to take inventory of that progress, you will find plenty to celebrate. That celebration becomes the fuel to keep moving forward.
Time to adjust
Yes, there will be times when you are falling short of your goals. When that happens, remember, you have three options.
- Option one – Adjust your goals
- Option two – Adjust your behaviors
- Option three – Adjust your attitude if you think option one is valid.
P.S. - If you haven’t put together a plan and feel overwhelmed by how to get started, download our suite of planning guides. We’ve built them with you in mind. Click the link to access
- our planning guide for insurance agencies,
- and our planning guide for salespeople.
- We also have a planning guide for non-sales team members. Just ask and we'll send it to you. 😀
Photo by basketman23