Business Plan Basics for IT

It would be safe to say that the New Orleans Saints had a game plan before the start of this year?s Super Bowl. Because they were committed to the plan and executed it, they are now the Super Bowl champions.

The ?Who Dat Nation? never accepted the idea that they would lose to the Colts. Instead, they developed a game plan that was different from the conventional plan, such as using an onside kick to start the second half.

I recommend that you take a leaf from the Saints? playbook and take control of your business. Create a game plan that describes the basics: what, when, how and why to achieve a specific set of goals. A game plan is all about taking control of the business and ensuring that others don?t affect the business negatively.

Following are four key steps to get you started on a game plan for your enterprise.

Step 1: Write it down. The first step in creating a corporate game plan is simple, and yet it is something most businesspeople never do: Write it down. If your plan is only in your head, that?s not a plan?it?s a thought.

Thoughts have no business value until you write them down. Writing a game plan accomplishes three things: It creates a thought process, creates confidence, and creates action and results.

Step 2: Stop and think. When a manager creates a game plan, he or she is forced to look at the desired results and focus on what activities are required to achieve those goals. This focus and the thought it takes to create a real game plan are beneficial in themselves. They create an environment in which to review what has worked, what hasn?t, what?s working for others, and so forth.

In addition, a person who creates a game plan becomes more confident and therefore more motivated to take action. And taking action is critical. A workable game plan is more than just a three-ring binder that management looks at once a year and then puts on the bookshelf to collect dust.

Step 3: Be logical. When a leader creates a game plan, the plan should not be simply a dream that a person or team cannot achieve, but it should be a stretch from the norm. Many business consultants and leaders advocate making a plan realistic; that?s a sure-fire way to limit one?s success.

Realistic is a poor metric to use as a measure because it?s limited by the past and provides excuses for failure. Activities and goals should be logical rather than realistic.

In other words, they should be achievable provided that management and staff deploy the necessary effort, talent and resources.

Step 4: Stay committed. So many companies have the best ideas and intentions, but often fall short of executing and maintaining a successful game plan. Watch out for the ?Power of New? syndrome, which can be described as an organization or team that is excited about new programs, changes or game plans.

Unfortunately, after a few months, this ?new? stuff starts to look suspiciously like work, and the ?fun-ness? wears off. A great leader knows that working on the business is the only way to motivate everybody to keep working in the business.

Taking the time to create, execute and maintain your game plan will put your business on the path to winning?this year and beyond. Your plan will help your team believe they can be Number 1. After all, logic says, ?Someone has to be Number 1, why not me?? An effective game plan can help managers and employees?and the company as a whole?become winners.

So stop being realistic and start being logical: Don?t let your past limit your future. Instead, let your new game plan lead you to a momentous year.

Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group and author of The Sales Leaders Playbook, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach.