The Importance of Planning Ahead

posted by Kate Lyon on Monday, December 11, 2017 in Office Equipment Blog

In my life, I am blessed to wear many hats: mother, operations leader, and Dale Carnegie Instructor. Between my two kids’ activities, full time work schedules and making family memories, I have found that planning ahead is critical to our success—especially when it comes to making our evenings more enjoyable. I start on Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and our schedule to determine which nights I cook and which ones we may need to lean on leftovers. I create the menu for the week; make my grocery list for the items we need and order these online for pick-up later in the afternoon.  This game plan puts my husband and me in a better position to succeed. 

Planning is also critical to our businesses. It helps us to develop our team members and focus on initiatives that will lead us to achieve our visions. In any organization, time can fly and we can be easily distracted if we do not proactively ensure we are making time to create our future. To help my teams and myself be more successful, I focus on dedicating time to each of the following:

  1. Make time for my team. Schedule time to meet with each of my team members to discuss their ongoing development.  We usually focus on what is a recent achievement, an area they want to focus on in the next 30 days and what resources they need to achieve this.  By breaking down goals in these smaller time frames it helps to not get consumed with working in the business and also making time for their personal development.
  2. Determine next steps of the initiatives I am working on and schedule the time and resources needed to meet the next goal.  This can be as simple as getting input from another perspective, updating training materials or updating the metrics that we use to forecast future growth. 
  3. Nurturing my network of resources.  This can be both within my organization or outside as I find that being able to see different perspectives and be challenged helps to spark new ideas or move past a point that I am struggling with.  Dedicating a few lunches a month to this is time well invested.
  4. Making time for my own personal development.  We all have areas that we want to improve or be stronger in.  Our industry continues to evolve and we need to as well.

Having a plan can put us in the best position to be successful.  There will always be days that things come up and sidetrack you from the goals you have.  Just like there are nights that we come home and don’t “feel” like having what is on the menu.  By having the plan, we can navigate any distractions that come up and then know how to get back on course.  Organization can feel overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. By focusing on the development of our team and the initiatives we have set to make our businesses stronger for the future, we can take small steps that can make a big difference. 

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About The Author

Kate joined GreatAmerica in 2003 in Sales.  Since then, she has held positions as a Team Leader, Sales Support Leader and Director of Operations.  Her primary responsibilities include indirect leadership of nine OEG Teams, risk and analysis, operational strategic initiatives, and continual improvement initiatives.  Kate has a BBA in Marketing and Communications and is currently pursuing her MBA.

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