Russel Ackoff said “Planning is the design of a desired future and of effective ways of bringing it about, (1970:1)”
You may have read in other blog posts what I feel are necessary ingredients for a successful business (Infrastructure, Human Resources, Customers).
Buy Low/ Sell High “formulas” may motivate but are of little use at a practical level.
Planning, on the other hand, is at the root of all successful business initiatives once you have decided on infrastructure, human resources and customers.
Without planning, you have no plans and without plans your infrastructure will decline, your human resources will go away and your customers will get tired of the status quo and either leave or be attracted away,
Planning starts with ideas, SWOT and gap analyses. All of this is “getting ready to get started” pre-amble stuff.
Once you pop the clutch, the gas tank starts to empty and now you need to spend your assets wisely.
It pays to know where you are going – if you don’t know where you want to get to ”. . . then it doesn’t matter which way you go” (Lewis Carrol, 1865).
Accordingly, in respect of whatever journey you wish to embark upon, to continue the metaphor, you need a traditional roadmap or a GPS. The difference in results is dramatic.
The difference between a paper map and a GPS is that one is static whereas the other is dynamic.
With a GPS, your plans are no longer cast in concrete, you can update your plans as and when situations and circumstances change.
Paper process maps are like paper roadmaps, in-line process templates are like a GPS.
Think about this when you generate process maps for your clients – most management consultants figure their job is complete once they provide the client with a paper map and a study report. With today’s technology consultants really are only at the 50% mark once a paper process map becomes available.
Here are some of the major tools you need to set up and run a successful business:
- Mind Mapping environment for ideas generation.
- Free-form Knowledge Base for exploring/expanding ideas.
- Critical Path (CPM) software that lets you manage time, cost and performance.
- Process Mapping environment.
- Orders or Task Management software to run your processes (your GPS)
Use these in the right mix and planning will work for you.