We have come to the final phase of the Whiteboard Business Blueprint planning process. It’s time to identify the specific actions you must take to achieve your objectives, move toward your vision, and fulfill your core purpose.
Action steps are the clear and very specific items you will prioritize and perform to make your business happen. No core purpose or vision will create and build a business on its own. You must eventually do something. In the words of Seth Godin, you must “ship”.
If you have followed the Blueprint, then your action steps should be easy to identify and execute. You created five or six business objectives that are measurable and consistent with your core purpose and vision. You then created no more than ten strategies to describe how you will achieve your objectives. From those strategies, you identified the projects you will execute to accomplish your strategies. Projects are simply a grouping of multiple action items, so you must create a list of action items to accomplish your projects.
Monitoring your projects and action steps is a very personal method. All of my friends have a slightly different method for tracking their projects and action steps. I will share a high-level view of my personal method, which combines the best of several methods I’ve learned.
- I treat my business objectives as part of my overall goal-setting process. I created approximately 20 goals in all areas of my life, which is a process I learned from my friend Kent Julian of Live it Forward.
- I carry a list of my objectives and strategies with me on my phone. I always want these with me to ground my thinking related to my business.
- I set my priorities based on projects. I use Kent Julian’s “101%” goal setting method for setting project priorities. I have one high-priority project, which is the 1% project priority. The next two highest-priority projects are my 20% project priorities. All other current projects on my list are my 80% project priorities.
- For each current project, I maintain a list of action items. I currently use Todo to capture my projects, but I will eventually switch to the Opus Domini application when it allows me to sync between my iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers. I use the Franklin Covey prioritization method to rank my action items. All actions in my 1% priority project are numbered A1, A2, etc. Action steps in my 20% projects are numbered B1, B2, etc. Any miscellaneous action items like going to the store, etc. that I can do in short time are numbered C1, C2, etc.
- If I complete a 1% or a 20% project, I will move one of the projects on the 80% list to the 20% project listing and start to prioritize action steps. Since I know my chances of working on a 80% action item are extremely small, I do not focus on prioritizing action steps.
- I generate many ideas, but I know I cannot act on all of them. I keep several “backburner” lists to hold ideas I want to consider in the future. I learned this idea from Scott Belsky’s book “Making Ideas Happen”, and I am not nearly as worried about losing my ideas. I use a free application called Wunderlist for my lists, but there are dozens of ways to record these ideas – including pen and paper!
You now have the full Whiteboard Business Plan Blueprint. Now go out and make your business happen!