What's Your Plan?
Fire, Ready, Aim… We’ve heard that jested command used to describe an approach that while enthusiastic, lacks direction. There’s the new outfit we just had to have, now in the closet, shrouded in mothballs. Travel reservations made for the family vacation scheduled for a time that conflicts with nearly everyone’s calendar. A capital expenditure for your work or business…unbudgeted.
Facilitating a strategic planning business roundtable recently, I was honored with exposure to inner elements of several diverse proprietorships. Each is a fascinating enterprise representing an array of talents, abilities, passions, and creativities. The businesses came to fruition in a number of different ways: ideas, purchases, and spinoffs most often. The energy and level of enthusiasm among group members is high.
During these encounters I gained an education about small business plans. Some, especially those that have been in existence for a time, had created a fairly sophisticated plan that defined their vision and mission and also touched upon the values they hoped to espouse. Others with shorter legacies were more in a stage of accelerating growth where challenges occur daily and the primary objective was to satisfy demand and collect fair and timely remuneration.
Whether you own or work in a small business, go to school, or enjoy retirement, what’s your plan? It would seem that there is not a one of us of at least school age who does not reap benefits from foresight.
Currently we’re in the beginning of tourist season in Northwest Florida: Spring Break. High school students and their families as well as college students have descended upon our white sand beaches for sun worshipping, shopping, and various forms of revelry. The other night my wife Cindy and I hosted one of our nieces and several of her Texas college co-ed friends for supper. Each of the young ladies are upperclassmen beginning to at least contemplate an existence beyond the sanctuary of university life.
Conversation turned to coursework, majors, and real world application of those studies. One was majoring in education. There were a couple focused on languages and international businesses. Social work one, another Graphic Design.
Though none had quite yet formulated an advanced career plan some of the beginning stages were beginning to emerge. The education major had a vision of being a second grade teacher. Another woman sensed a calling towards international mission work where she would assist individuals in developing countries to learn and apply certain vocational skills. Some of the dreamers discussed collaborative endeavors. Unspoken among the contingent, yet likely subliminally communicated were thoughts of romances, marriage, and their own families.
Though their plans were primitive now they would advance. The future teacher will begin to establish a goal to do some student teaching. Her objective will be to complete that task by a specific date next year. She also aims to commence her career in one of two metro areas. In order to effectuate that end she will likely establish a “To Do” list that includes:
· Contacting the career placement office at her school by the first day of the Fall Semester.
· Identifying the hiring authorities in school districts in her desired location, again by a fixed date.
· Networking with parents, friends, friends’ parents, former teachers, current teachers, etc. in an effort to make a positive connection…on a schedule!
Undoubtedly, at least to me, the most important overriding consideration in whatever is planned is that it lines up with our basic values. If we are seeking employment we likely want to work for someone who has a high work ethic. If your mission is to buy a car you seek value and integrity. Those entering a partnership will be inclined to navigate towards someone with a compatible system of beliefs.
Since time immemorial plans have been a part of our existence. Lest we forget we are reminded in Proverbs 29:18 that “where there is no vision, the people perish…” Further, The Master Planner Himself tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11
What’s your plan?
The Seed Sower