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Intention: The Missing Ingredient in a Business Plan

Jan 18, 2014

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA International speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in career development, business planning, brokerage management, leadership, and instructor development. What sets Read more

Are your agents less than excited about making a business plan? It may be because they believe it’s just all theory—words on paper. But, there’s another type of planning. It’s ‘intentional’.

What is 'Intentional Planning'?

It's making a behavioral-based action plan--which answers the questions what are you going to do? When are you going to do it? How are you going to go about it?

Here's how to use intentional planning to fire up your agents. I'm always looking for tips in motivating others (and myself). I found a great article from my personal trainer. It says that 'intentional planning' is the biggest component to obtain your goals.

The Science Behind this Component

A study in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology conducted with 8000 participants found that intentional planning was the key factor in a successful habit change. This approach increased the chance of successful change by 50-80%!

The 'Secret' to Change

We regularly declare our intentions. But, we rarely get specific about them. When we're not specific, we don't have a road map to chart that change. We don't know the actions to take. In order to change our intentions from 'general' and 'philosophical' to action-based, we need to answer these questions:



How--what shall we practice? How shall we do it?

The Reason Most Business Plans Fail

As a manager and trainer, I've seen all sorts of business plans. I've seen all sorts of business planning templates. Unfortunately, many plans stay in the 'what'--the philosophical statements or just the numbers. Inferior templates encourage this flawed thought process. So, people blithely create these business plans, set them on the shelf, and continue doing exactly what they have been doing!!! So, they get the same results.

My Business Planning System 'Forces' This Thought Process

Having used those flawed plans and having seen my agents and other managers fail with them, I built into my business planning system and templates the when and how. So, My system actually forces the user to think through the whole process--to get to the weekly/daily action plans that will help change their business habits for the better. (see more here).

How Specific is YOUR Plan?

The acid test: Could I take your business plan, follow it, and see results? If it's not that action-oriented, you can't follow it either! Be sure the business planning system and templates you're following direct your thinking from the 'what' to the when and the how. Now you're cooking!

Managers: As you're counseling your agents, be sure their plans get to 'where the rubber meets the road'. Could you follow their plan--or is it just a series of numbers or high-fallutin' statements?

Making the Intentions Last

We all have the best of intentions. But, how do we assure they become habitual actions? Here are four tips:

  1. Include the ‘why’

Why do you want this? Be specific. Make it full of passion and ‘technicolor’. This gives you purpose to what you want to achieve. Be sure it’s something you really want—not something someone else wants for you (are they your goals or others’ goals?)

  1. Concentrate on one intention at a time.

If you take too big a bite, you choke. So, focus on one thing you want to accomplish at a time. Use a calendar and put an intention for the quarter, for example.

  1. Make it specific. Spell out exactly what you’re going to do.

 For example, if it’s lead generation, say who you’re going to contact, when, where, and what you’ll say. Make a tracking system, too. Pretend you’re giving this action plan to someone else. Could they follow it?

  1. Repeat the strategy session every three months.

Research showed that intentions start to diminish. But, doing a ‘re-strategy’ session every three months renewed the intensity of the intention. So, Sit down and ask yourself those ‘why’ questions every three months.  

Managers: Teach your agents to have intention in their plans. Help them with their 3-month review strategy. You’ll be assisting them to form life-long habits of achievement. Everyone wins.