The Best Laid Plans That Never Happened

Nov 16, 2017, Written by Sue Miley


Was it the plan?” asked the company that missed its goals. 

Business coaches, mentors and media come out of the woodwork in the fourth quarter of every year and tell you to plan.  I did it.  We had a whole series on it.  And I believe wholeheartedly in plans.

But… only if we implement them.

If we spend three months creating a plan and then abandon the plan after 3 weeks or 3 days, was it a bad plan?  How would you know?

In the past couple of years I have added the report card to all of my client planning meetings.  Before we start brainstorming and coming up with new plans, first we have to assess the old plans.


  • If we didn’t execute the plan well, we are not qualified to assess whether it is a good plan or not.
  • It is hard to constantly come up with new plans, much less better plans, if we don’t know if the first plans were good plans or not.

The report card looks something like this:

  • Key Initiative – what did our plan focus on?
  • Goal Achievement  – did we achieve our goals, yes or no?
  • Quality of Plan – did we execute and it just didn’t work, did we execute and it worked, did we NOT execute so we do not know?
  • Quality of Execution – did we execute well, did we execute poorly, did we not execute at all?

You can use a numerical rating or a alphabetical rating, but basically you want to give yourself a grade.

All Plans Are Created Equal, Execution is Not

If you can honestly say you executed well and the plan just didn’t work, then it is worth assessing and coming up with a new plan.

If you didn’t execute well or at all, I would seriously consider keeping the same plan.  Unless you know of a reason it won’t work or your company cannot execute it for some reason, you should stick with the plan and try again.

Most of the time (not all) when goals are not achieved, the team admits to executing poorly or not at all.  Most of the time when goals are crushed, the team agrees that they worked the plan.  Good fortune could have happened or new opportunities could have arisen, however, usually we executed the plan.

In some cases, the plans that need to be executed are actually quite simple.  I bet a client some free coaching if following her plan to walk in and call on three accounts per week for the whole year doesn’t increase her sales – significantly.  If you go from cold calling or warm calling on one or two prospects per quarter to three a week, I really can almost guarantee an increase in sales.  And trust me, the increase will be more than a few free coaching sessions!

Bottom-line…..we can create the best laid plans….but, eventually we have to implement them to succeed.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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