BADD (Business Attention Deficit Disorder) affects millions of business owners each and every year. Symptoms include: excitability, difficulty focusing, lack of systems and controls, inability to delegate tasks, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of actions with no progress.
This common ailment has been known to affect profits and has a direct impact on a businesses ability to scale and meet demand. Thankfully, there is a simple cure that can be implemented in just a few hours time.
The 1 Page Action Plan
Before I share with you this simple template for your one page action plan, I want to address a few key points of difference and why it is pure gold if you suffer from Business Attention Deficit Disorder.
Point 1: Your one page action plan is designed to be repeated every quarter. Why a quarter? The quarter is the perfect unit of time to bridge your big-picture goals--which probably have a two- to five-year timeline or longer--and your weekly planning and daily action. It's long enough that you can get meaningful units of work done that collectively bring you closer to your long-term goals, but short enough so that you can frequently course correct and hold your focus. In a nutshell, it negates your BADD symptoms and helps you focus on what's important.
Point 2: It's only one page long. Do NOT under any circumstances grab a second sheet of paper. Why one page? We've learned from working with hundreds of BADD business owners, that the key to success is being able to take in your company action plan as a gestalt whole. If your plan is two or three pages (or, heaven forbid--14 pages!), you just won't use it weekly.
This discipline of working with a quarterly one-page action plan has helped our business coaching clients enjoy an average annual growth rate five times greater than the average privately held company in the U.S. It just works.
Here is what our formatted action plans look like.
It's As Easy as 1, 2, 3
The beauty of this 1 page action plan lies in its simplicity. Within a few short hours you can have your quarter planned out and ready for progress.
Step 1: Pick Your Three "Focus Areas" for the Quarter
Your Focus Areas are the most important areas for your business to spotlight during the coming quarter. You will invest a portion of your best resources, because you know that these are the areas that will really help you scale and develop your business.
Each quarter, meet with your leadership team and decide on up to three Focus Areas for your business for that quarter.
Potential Focus Areas could be:
Increasing your lead flow
Improving your sales conversion system
Speeding up your collections cycle
Making a key hire
Developing a new product
Progressing on a key project
I strongly advise you to limit your company to no more than three Focus Areas for the quarter (in many cases, having only one or two Focus Areas for the quarter may be a better choice). Why limit your company to three Focus Areas? Because Business Attention Deficit Disorder is real and 90 days go by really fast. Keep your focus and invest your resources wisely.
Step 2: Clarify the Criteria for Success for Each of Your Three Focus Areas
Now that you've picked your three Focus Areas for the quarter, the temptation is to immediately go lay out your action steps for them. Don't. Pause first and reflect. One of the symptoms of BADD is "lack of restraint" so you are going to have to work hard here.
Ask yourself: What would you need to accomplish this quarter to feel successful in this Focus Area?
Be ruthlessly realistic about what it is possible to accomplish in 90 days.
Pick an area of success that you already have a good grasp on, and choose Key Performance Indicators that will help you track your progress over the next 90 days. When criteria are too subjective, you may reach the end of the quarter without agreeing on whether you succeeded.
Step 3: Lay Out Your Key Action Steps and Milestones for the Quarter
The final step is to lay out the key action steps you need to take and milestones you need to reach to accomplish your criteria of success for each Focus Area over the coming quarter.
To keep your plan to one page, you'll probably need to break down each Focus Area into five to seven action steps and milestones. Resist the urge to get really detailed here because it will cause your BADD symptoms to flare up and you will get lost in the details.
For each action step, pick a team member to be ultimately responsible for executing the step by a definite date. While you can have multiple people contribute to a specific step or steps, you need to pick one person who is tasked with the responsibility and authority to get that step done and done well. We say that this person "owns" the task. This sense of ownership is critical to your success. It's hard to hold someone accountable for a missed milestone if it isn't clear who was responsible.
Disclaimer: While I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV) I have helped thousands of business owners gain the focus needed to scale their businesses with this simple to use action plan. When used regularly, you too can free yourself from the crippling symptoms of BADD.