Guest post by Sue Groszkiewicz, Accountable for Change
Living through this period of Covid-19 is creating a lot of anxiety for many people while others have a lot of extra time. The challenge for both is to answer “what now and how.” One option is to create a plan of action to gain clarity and to focus on what you can achieve during these difficult times.
Think back prior to Covid-19. What time of year did you focus on your plan? While there are many types of plans, most of the ones we are exposed to tend to be work-related. Annual budgets need to be set, stretch goals are put in place to help achieve annual goals, and so goes the business calendar. Some people plan annually, others follow the 90-day plan guidelines, constantly updating their progress and adjusting for new information.
Do you have a plan for your life? Often, I ask this question when coaching business leaders. Generally, about 10% acknowledge they do. My experience, however, is that people do more planning than they give themselves credit for doing. While it may not be in the form of a written plan, people do have dreams and aspirations that they pursue. They also want to leave a legacy. It is achieving those dreams and aspirations where people typically need help.
A simple planning framework follows.
- Write down 3 bullet points to describe your present situation. For example, newly promoted manager, 5 years technical experience, single, apartment dweller.
- On a separate piece of paper, using a scale of 1 being the lowest value and 10 being the highest value, rate your current satisfaction with the key areas of your life: friends, family, financial, community, career/business, usefulness, spirituality, personal life, fun and health. Next, rate your desired satisfaction level in the same areas. Calculate the gap between the 2 columns and circle the largest gaps.
- Think forward and write down one word that you would like for people to use in describing you. For example: teacher, motivator, coach, brilliant scientist, heart of the family and so forth.
- Next write down 3 bullet points to define where you want to be in 90 days. What changes would you like to make in relation to the information you learned from the above exercise? (There is no hard and fast rule about the time period, it can be 180 days, a year or longer.) To continue the example, possible items could include dating, coaching a team, and joining a civic or community organization.
- The next step is to determine how you are going to achieve your 90-day goals. Start by answering these questions:
- What barriers will you have to overcome to achieve your goals?
- How will you measure your progress?
- In what way will you be held accountable?
- At this point you have identified your present situation, identified your 90-day goals, and have a grasp of barriers, measurement, and accountability needs. The next step is to bridge the gap between your present situation and each 90-day goal. Let us say a barrier you have is flexibility in networking situations. An example of a necessary action step is to ask:
- What can I do to become more at ease with virtual networking situations?
- What must I change about myself to be viewed as a leader?
- Are my skills at a level where I can be of value to others?
- The answers to the above questions represent actions you will take to move forward towards achieving the goal of joining a particular organization. Examples of action items include:
- Research the types of organizations available, expectations and match to my interests.
- Take a human relationships course, such as the Dale Carnegie course to learn to be more flexible.
- Complete the StrengthsFinder 2.0 profile to learn more about myself.
The point is planning is powerful and simple. You start with where you are NOW, identify WHERE you want to go and then identify HOW you will get there. Begin with a few action items. Avoid perfection; just start. You will soon realize you have achieved more than you originally thought possible, and you will improve the process each time you develop a plan. Life planning is critical to professional success and this simple framework easily transfers to the workplace.
During the Covid-19 crisis, my family came together to make ‘one family plan’ for 90 days. Each of us identified online courses we would pursue, special nesting type projects we would complete, and we put in two outdoor gardens together. We desired to be in control of what we did as we navigated balancing the uncertainties of a pandemic, working and family needs. A simple plan is a roadmap to reducing anxiety, stress and achieving your goals.
With over four decades of business leadership and consulting experience, Sue Groszkiewicz serves as the catalyst for change that drives clients to higher levels of success. Through facilitating, coaching services and training focused on strategy, management, leadership and problem solving for individuals and organizations, Sue shows her clients how to create lasting change in themselves and their organizations. Learn more at accountableforchange.com.