How to Plan Mind-Set Rules to Help a Business Venture Succeed

By Marie Taylor, Steve Crabb

Most business coaches know that the grim reality of business is that grand visions often end in failure, new products are unsuccessful, and new ventures fail to live up to their expectations. In the United States, 33 percent of businesses fail in the first year of trading, and by year three that number rises to 50 percent. You can probably think of many stories where blind enthusiasm and perseverance led to business success, but these stories are the exceptions to the rules.

A successful venture is more likely to be achieved by following the right processes; enthusiasm and perseverance on their own just aren’t enough. What you need are strategies that move a business in the general direction of success. The rapidly changing economic landscape also means that businesses have the added pressure of having to innovate, plan, and execute plans quicker than ever.

Companies now realize the benefits of having a plan that is “good enough for now,” launching a project, gathering feedback, and adjusting to the feedback as the plan evolves. A new paradigm for change is evident in product and service development and how visions are transformed into successful realities.

This paradigm for change is as follows:

  1. Have a vision (get clarity).
  2. Have a strategic plan (good enough for now).
  3. Execute the plan (without it being perfect).
  4. Measure results and get feedback (from customers, team, suppliers).
  5. Adjust the plan according to the feedback received (making sure that everyone is onboard and clear about his responsibilities).
  6. Test that the plan is progressing in the right direction.

Before coaching on planning options, you need to set in place certain attitudes and rules, whether working with an individual, team, or organization. These are the Planning Mind-Set Rules.

Clients must be

  • In a calm, relaxed state before any planning or appraisal: Avoid being overly enthusiastic, because it can distort perceptions, leading to blind enthusiasm. Avoid negativity because it can lead to ideas being dismissed before they’re properly assessed.
  • Open-minded to all options and willing to explore and play: Many great ideas come from “out-of-the-box” or “blue-sky” thinking.
  • Honest and vulnerable, with a willingness to hear, contribute, and welcome all feedback: Being precious about an idea or a way to achieve something can prevent clients from seeing a quicker, easier, or better way. Fear of offering a comment or idea or asking a question can mean that a valuable insight may be missed.
  • Neutrally detached from the outcomes of the plan: Separating any attachment from the outcomes of a project means that the plan can be appraised from an unbiased perspective, without any neediness or desperateness for the plan to work.
  • Committed to engaging and contributing to the planning process: Clients sometimes detach from the planning process for reasons they may not always be able to voice. Gain a willingness to engage, setting aside all personal reservations about the vision.

The Planning Mind-Set Rules set the conditions for successful, creative, and worthwhile coaching sessions. Always set out these conditions and get clients’ willingness and verbal agreement to adhere to these rules before starting. If there is reluctance to engage, this reluctance must be immediately addressed. Neutralizing any objections or resistance in advance sets the session up for success. Write down the rules and post them on the wall as reminders.