May 18

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan, and Fail


Haven’t we all been taught to plan our work, then work our plan as if success is guaranteed when we do so? Lately many of my business clients have come to me thinking their business plans are solid and their employees are the problem. Their businesses are struggling and they are blaming their employees, including their managers. However, in all cases, their plans were the leading problem.

When you create a plan, the people implementing it need to be strong in connecting with it, that is true. But, what most people overlook is that the plan itself must also be strong. If the plan is weak, no amount of working it will bring the success you desire.

For example, let’s look at a real estate office plan for increasing sales. The plan was to hire a productivity coach. She would be paid a lucrative salary by the company to coach the bottom-tier salespeople as per a franchise model. And, to further incentivize the coach, she would be paid bonuses whenever the people she coached met specific sales goals. The leader of the office, who is held accountable for the office being profitable, was frustrated not to be making a profit while paying bonuses to the coach. She knew the model wasn’t working. Also, this company profit shares with their salespeople. No profit, no profit share. The office leader couldn’t fix the problem, because the plan was weak. The plan did not support and align with the overall business culture of independent salespeople following a pay-your-own-way and profit-share franchise model. So, we broke the plan down in order of its weaknesses in order to reveal a strong plan.

Giving free coaching to the bottom-tier agents was a weak plan for increasing their productivity for several reasons. I’ll name the top three.

(1) The plan made the salespeople think they couldn’t succeed acting on their own insight.

(2) The plan takes profit share away from the other salespeople. And,

(3) The plan created entitlement thinking in those who had not performed.

A stronger coaching plan would have the agents who want coaching hire the coach of their choice and pay a fixed amount per session with the opportunity to stop coaching at any time. Forcing a commitment by time or goal is also a weak plan.

When a plan is weak and people continue to implement it, the situation actually gets worse. If your company is struggling to make a profit, before you blame your people, feel for weaknesses in your business plan. If you’d like assistance in developing a strong plan for profitability, make a consultation appointment with me by emailing Julie@AppliedKnowing.com.