Planning and preparation

Manchester United Campeón 2010-11 by americanistadechiapas

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

I’m a huge sports fan and I love watching football, rugby and cricket in particular. The excitement and drama these sports generate is what really captivates me and millions of others. But as a business professional, I can’t help but focus on the immense professionalism that exists within these sports.

As skilful and entertaining as the players are, meticulous planning and preparation from the entire squad, management and backroom staff is what gives elite sports teams the real opportunity to succeed. Without it, victory is always a further step away.

Prepare like a winner

The planning that goes into making a successful sports team is the same as that which goes into any operation intent on making improvements and aiming to be number one. Whether you’re a professional speaker, a corner shop, a teacher or a multinational corporation, success is intrinsically linked to effective planning.

But what are the real benefits of planning and what can it do for you?

Provide direction

A decisive plan will give you the direction you need and provide you with a goal, a set of objectives and a strategy to reach them. Without it you may well flounder and miss out on opportunities that could otherwise have be taken.

Reduce uncertainties

Planning and preparation allows you to assess what problems may or may not exist and give you the chance to put strategies in place to tackle them.

Allocate resources

What will you need to meet your objectives? How many people? What type of people? What kind of equipment is required? Planning gives you the opportunity to answer these questions and make a forecast of everything you might need to meet your objectives.

Anticipate action

What is the competition doing? What plans might they have? Don’t blindly assume but make an educated assessment of what actions you might have to take based on a set of different scenarios. Competition can come in the form of many things (direct and indirect) so have a plan outlining the various courses of action you can take.

Facilitate assessment

Whatever happens, you will need to assess how you’ve performed. By planning ahead you can work out how, what and when to make those assessments and put a framework in place to make it happen. Feedback – good and bad – is essential and will give you the data to figure out what went well and what can be improved next time.

Make good decisions

More than anything, good preparation allows you to make better decisions. The more information you have to hand, the better prepared you’ll be to use that knowledge to make the right decisions and ultimately give yourself the best possible chance of success.

Do you have any planning and preparation tips for success?